Sunday, October 26, 2014

Managing Drought Risk on the Ranch

Identify How Drought Impacts Your Ranch Operation

Download PDF to identify impacts on your ranch.

Droughts may have direct consequences, such as reduced crop yields, livestock losses, or pond depletion. These direct impacts may then lead to secondary consequences such as physical and emotional stress, or financial insecurity. 

Some of the more common types of drought impacts are listed below.

Pasture

Pasture effects

  • Reduced productivity of rangeland
  • Closure/limitation of public lands to grazing
  • Range fires
  • Increased weeds
  • Disrupted plant communities
  • Decrease in desirable forage species
  • Wind and water erosion of soils
 

Water

Water availability

  • High cost/unavailability of water for livestock
  • Reservoir or pond levels dropping
  • Reduced flow from springs
  • Water quality problems (e.g., salt concentration, increased water temperature, contaminants)

Herd

Herd effects

  • Forced reduction of foundation stock
  • Decreased livestock gains
  • Greater disease, pestilence, health issues for livestock
  • High cost/unavailability of feed for livestock
  • High livestock mortality rates
  • Disruption of reproduction cycles (breeding delays or unfilled pregnancies)
  • Decreased stock weights
  • Increased predation

 Financial

Financial effects

  • Inability to Support Ranch Employees
  • Inability to fulfill debt obligations
  • Decrease in capital
  • Increase in debt/asset ratio
  • Borrowing value of land and stock drops
  • Tax penalties from sell down
  • Future price/income risks
  • Watering and feed costs increase

Wildlife/Environment

Wildlife effects

  • Reduction and degradation of fish and wildlife habitat
  • Migration and concentration (loss of wildlife in some areas and too many in others)
  • Loss of wetlands
  • Loss of biodiversity

Social/Family

People effects

  • Mental and physical stress (e.g., anxiety, depression, loss of security, domestic violence)
  • Increased respiratory ailments
  • Reduction or modification of recreational activities
  • Off-farm/ranch employment required at higher levels
  • Family Stress
  • Loss of human life (e.g., from heat stress, suicides)

 

The National Drought Mitigation Center | 3310 Holdrege Street | P.O. Box 830988 | Lincoln, NE 68583–0988
phone: (402) 472–6707 | fax: (402) 472–2946 | Email Us

University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Copyright 2014 National Drought Mitigation Center