Range condition influences the rate of recovery in forage production after drought. Even with sound management, plant vigor may not fully recover for 5 or more years if heavy grazing occurred prior to and during drought. Animal performance may be diminished, and herd size may be reduced. The financial balance sheet as well as cash flow may be impacted for five years or more. This understanding will form your strategies for recovery from drought.
You may want to have a five to ten year plan for recovering from a prolonged drought. At this stage it is critical to sit down with someone to do a good analysis of your business, identify strategies for recovery, and evaluate the impact that those strategies will have on your balance sheet, cash flow, pasture health, livestock herd, and family.
Recent droughts have taught ranchers about the need for long-term monitoring of the weather, and their livestock, vegetation, and financial resources. Monitoring should begin in advance of drought, so that you have the information you need to make fast and effective decisions near the beginning of drought and before prolonged drought cripples your plan, animal, and financial resources.
The next step is to develop and implement a plan that maximizes the overall health, resilience, and productivity of your ranch operation. Healthy systems are better able to tolerate drought. Incorporating the likelihood of periodic drought into your overall ranch plan and grazing strategy will increase the likelihood that your pastures, livestock, finances, and family will successfully make it through the next one.
Now's the time to create a plan that will help you maintain the health of your pastures, livestock, finances, and family during the next drought. Other producers have found that thinking through their options ahead of time, and making timely decisions, have helped them reduce drought-related losses and personal stress.
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