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Aug 2013--Weathering Drought in NM

NRCS rep in the field

Despite a few recent scattered thunderstorms, New Mexico continues to forge into uncharted territory in terms of drought and reduced water flow. Farmers and ranchers are trying to find ways to weather this extended drought and sustain their operations.

Though you can't completely "drought proof" your land, USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service can help you make it more resilient. NRCS works with private landowners to plan and install conservation practices on their farms and ranches, many of which mitigate drought.
Here are a few drought tips from your NRCS experts.
 
Cropland:
1. Minimize tillage as much as possible -- no tillage is best
2. Keep soil covered
3. Consider killing cover crops off a couple weeks before planting
4. For crops that take supplemental nitrogen -- scale back nitrogen to expected yield
5. If rain isn't expected, inject fertilizer so it comes into contact with more soil moisture
 
Rangeland:
1. Have a drought plan in place and follow it
2. Don't overgraze
3. Find alternative feeds and forages
4. Improve water resources
5. Cull herds
 
NRCS also provides financial and technical assistance for conservation practices that make irrigating crops and providing water to livestock more efficient, such as wells, pipelines and watering facilities.
 
To learn how you can fortify your land against drought, stop by your local service center or http://www.nm.nrcs.usda.gov for more information on how to make your land more resilient to drought and other extreme weather.
 
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About NRCS:

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service helps America's farmers and ranchers conserve the nation's soil, water, air and other natural resources. All programs are voluntary and offer science-based solutions that benefit both the landowner and the environment.

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