National Drought Mitigation Center

Drought Response Strategies

Some action will  have to be considered and undertaken during and after drought, no matter how well one has designed their operation for drought resilience.

You will likely want to re-evaluate your “in-drought” options on an annual basis, at minimum. Your list of reasonable options for this year may look completely different from your list of reasonable options for next year. The length of the drought, the severity of the drought, market conditions, and other factors, have a great impact on what you can do during drought.

As you think through management options that you might take during drought, you may want to consider

  1. Does it move you towards your vision or goals? 
    Drought planning is just one piece of your overall ranch vision and goals, but can help you achieve your goals if you keep them in mind.
  2. Is it feasible? 
    Reflecting back on your inventory of your ranch resources, and the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats you identified, is this strategy something you can realistically do?
  3. Will it make an impact? 
    To explore what other producers and advisors have identified as being effective strategies to manage through drought, see "During Drought."
  4. Do the benefits outweigh costs?
    Financial decision making tools may help you identify the costs and benefits of proposed projects, and help you see the larger financial implications of your decision.

Drought Management Strategies to Consider

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Pasture Management
These strategies help you minimize damage to pasture resources during drought.

Forage Saving / Destocking Options
These strategies help you extend forage supplies by decreasing demand.

Alternative Feeds
These strategies help you identify alternative feed sources that may be used during drought.

Water Quality and Heat Stress
These strategies may help you avoid loss of livestock due to water quality problems and heat stress.

Financial Options
These strategies help you identify financial resources and priorities during drought.