Forage Production with Limited Precipitation or Irrigation
Many farmers and ranchers are looking at what forage options are available this spring and summer to replace summer grass that will be lost due to drought. Making the most of limited precipitation and irrigation water will be important. Understanding when different forages are most water-use efficient and understanding options to hit the harvest window when the optimum amount of both quality and quantity of forage is present can help producers evaluate which forage options will best meet their goals.
A webinar titled Forage Production with Limited Precipitation or Irrigation was recently recorded. This webinar highlights when forages are most water use efficient as well as methods for planning how to incorporate these forages into production systems.
Dr. Jerry Volesky has written a paper that is available at the UNL Drought Resources Website. This paper titled, Grazing and Forage Management in 2013, explains how producers should evaluate pasture and range conditions and make grazing management decisions in light of drought conditions. It also highlights how annual forages can be used in production systems to provide additional feed.
There are also several NebGuides available to producers that provide additional facts on the use of forages. Producers can use this information to help make decisions under current drought conditions.
- Utilizing Annual Forages with Limited Irrigation for Beef Cattle During and Following Drought (PDF version, 1.09MB)
- Forage Production with Limited Irrigation (PDF version, 860KB)
- Crop Water Use in Western Nebraska (PDF 238KB)
- Summer Annual Forages for Beef Cattle in Western Nebraska (PDF version, 344KB)
- Windrow Grazing (PDF version, 623KB)
Aaron Berger, Extension Educator
Panhandle Research & Extension Center
University of Nebraska