Need a better way to assess drought impacts on your pastures? Check out the Drought Management Calculator that was developed by the researchers at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service and North Dakota State University Central Grasslands Research Extension Center.

The DMC was developed to assess the impacts of drought on rangeland which is in "good condition".  Healthy forage not only sustains the base herd but also benefits overall soil health by increasing water infiltration rates and reducing erosion. 

Previous season and in-season precipitation are the two dominating factors impacting forage health and production. Drought can also have a carry-over effect on the following season’s forage production. Even with normal precipitation the year after a droughty year, forage production will not be 100 percent of average. This carry-over effect is taken into consideration by the calculator and the following season’s forage production potential is shown.

The calculator is available on the North Dakota, Utah and New Mexico NRCS Web sites, and is expected to be added to the Illinois, Nebraska and Minnesota NRCS websites.

NRCS officials also say that they plan to make the tool available via CD, as well as possibly attach it to the drought monitor Web page.

Click here for more.

Source: Natural Resources Conservation Service