From the Ground Up - Drought and the Land

We’ve talked a lot about the impact this drought has had across the entire state, but we haven’t really said much about the recovery from it, not if, but when it occurs.

“I mean obviously the pastures are short, and initially once we start getting moisture, probably the first thing everybody’s going to see is a big blossom of weeds.”

Craig Pate works for the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“As producers start looking to plan to come out of this drought, that’s probably weed control next year, next spring, probably several times next year.

Hopefully if we do get rain this winter, they can kind of start planning to avoid that by maybe putting some rye grass or some small grains out, not only to provide some extra grazing, but also to try and fill in the void of those, that bare ground area, maybe to slow done some of that weed blossom next spring.”

Bare ground could also promote erosion.

“Specially if you’ve got slopes, sandy soils, those areas are going to erode if we get some intensive rain, and so anything you can do to get something actively growing on it, that’s sure going to slow down any erosion.”

And drought can be devastating to wildlife and their habitats.

“Obviously the bird, quail, stuff like that, it’s probably going to have a short term negative effect on quail. It may impact the seer population a little bit, but they’re pretty mobile they can find water.”

And on the plus side of the ledger.

“It’s had a positive impact on hogs, at least it’s moved them away, because if they don’t have water they don’t have hogs. That’s probably going to be another factor as rain comes back, they’re going to come back.”

How long it will take pastures to recover is a hard question to answer.

“Grasses will come back. Will it come back with what you had before? If you had some good Tifton stands, will it be Tifton again, or will it be Bahia grass, or will it be Common. They’re going to need to be soil testing, obviously, as soon as we get back into normal rainfall and focus in on those fields that were productive before.”

I’m Shel Winkley, looking at Brazos valley Agriculture. From The Ground Up.

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