Farm Life: Surviving A Long, Dry Summer

Farm Life: Surviving A Long, Dry Summer

Water Is Important on the Farm

Given that the year has only just begun, it may seem odd to be contemplating the water needs of a farm during the summer months. With winter still in full flow for at least another six weeks and spring to follow it, it may seem a little rash to be considering July before January has even passed.

However, if you live or work on a farm, you’ll know how thinking ahead is one of the best ways to ensure everything ticks along as it should. Summer is one of the most enjoyable times on a farm, but it also presents a number of challenges that you need to have planned solutions for, should they occur.

One of the most pressing issues facing any farm over the summer months is the potential for drought, or near-drought, conditions. A dry summer may be great for having fun with your kids and indulging in cookouts, but for a farm, it’s generally not as welcome. Below are a few ideas for plans that can help your farm survive a summer without significant rainfall.

1) The necessity of irrigation for crops

Irrigation helps in times of drought

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If you don’t have the best irrigation system, then now is the time to start investigating a replacement. Irrigation is simply the single most important factor that will decide how good your harvest is; this is true even if you only live on a small homestead. Consult with experts such as those at Proirrigation.com to discuss your irrigation needs and ensure you have the right setup in place by the time summer rolls around.

2) Check your soil quality

Soil quality is always important, but it’s all the more essential when you’re facing drought conditions. If you have never checked the pH or quality of your soil, this is something you’re going to want to do as soon as possible. Soil that is of poor quality will not retain moisture as effectively as it should, meaning that you’ll struggle to keep crops properly watered even with the most effective irrigation system you can buy. There’s a great guide to checking the moisture retention abilities of soil at SFgate.com, so it a try, and take action if you find you have an issue.

3) Adequate animal hydration

Animals always need a steady supply of clean drinking water

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For the animals on your farm, a dry summer can mean a lot of discomfort. Dehydration has the ability to kill if you are not hypervigilant. If you have animals that tend to rely on water supplies from natural sources, such as rivers, this is an area you particularly have to consider– if you experience a dry summer, there’s every chance smaller rivers and brooks will run dry.

The best way of avoiding dehydration is to set time in your planner to check water sources, both natural and those provided by you, as well as regular checks on the hydration levels of the animals themselves. For most farm animals, from horses to dogs and everything in between, this can be done using the skin test. You can perform this by pinching the skin and releasing; the skin should immediately fall back into place. If it doesn’t, and remains in the pinched risen position, this is a sign that the animal needs to increase their water intake.

Hopefully you have found this guide to surviving a long summer on a farm useful– now you just have to watch the forecast and hope for the occasional burst of rain!