O'Connor, an agricultural water policy analyst, says the FCIP should be reformed to encourage risk-reducing farming techniques, like those championed by Gabe Brown, which improve soil health and reduce the risk of crop loss. Brown is among a growing number of farmers who use a suite of techniques to build soil's natural capacity to retain moisture, discourage weeds and pests, and nurture crops.
When Brown launched his operation in , his soil was gray, dull and lifeless.
Over the decades, it's become rich, nearly black, and it teems with earthworms, beneficial insects and microorganisms. The change is due to several key farming practices, including cover cropping and no-till farming, which improve soil health. No-till farming means that instead of plowing-under that rich soil ecosystem every planting season, Brown plants directly onto the stubble of last year's crops.
The stubble acts like mulch and helps the soil retain moisture. According to USDA data, farmers who used no-till methods on corn in were 30 percent less likely to receive an indemnity payment from the FCIP than conventional farmers.
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Cover cropping — as Brown's deep-green cover-cropped fields demonstrate — helps build healthier soil. Cover crops aren't grown for market.
Prepare Your Farm or Ranch Before Drought Strikes | NRCS
They're chosen for their ability to protect and enhance soil health. Planting a mix of cover crops, like winter wheat and hairy vetch, increases soil nutrients and water retention, and prepares the soil for the next planting rather than depleting it.
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A recent USDA survey found that farmers who used cover crops in averaged higher yields than farmers who did not. The benefit was most pronounced in areas hardest hit by drought, demonstrating what a powerful drought-proofing tool cover-cropping can be. Using techniques that protect and improve soil health provides a built-in buffer against weather extremes, and makes farming a considerably less-risky business. Pro-active preparedness entails using the principles of risk management to upgrade the drought resistance of a farm systematically, and to have auxiliary contingency plans at the ready for use during unusually long droughts.
The book provides tools for these strategies as it covers the management of water, soils, crops, rangeland, fodder and livestock, and many other drought-related topics. Audience: This book will be an important source of information for university and college staff and students in agricultural sciences, water and land use, environmental management, geography and risk management, and also farmers, agricultural advisors and policy makers.
Drought Management on Farmland
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Link Either by signing into your account or linking your membership details before your order is placed. In , favourable prices for beef, sheep meats and wool are encouraging livestock farmers to hold on to remaining cattle and sheep where possible, although high prices for fodder and feed grains are adding to the cost of this strategy.
Broadacre farms in South-Eastern Australia also ran down their grain inventories during the financial year, leaving smaller volumes on hand at the beginning of the season. While grain inventories are forecast to decline further, the absolute size of the reductions are expected to be smaller than those recorded in the previous year. Given the changes in inventory behaviour, average farm business profit in is not expected to fall by as much as the decline in average farm cash income. Nevertheless, it is still forecast to be negative for the first time in five years, and the lowest in real terms in a decade.
In Southern Queensland, average farm business profit will be negative for the second year in a row. Average farm cash incomes in are expected to fall across all industries in South-Eastern Australia, with the sharpest falls recorded among grain producers and dairy farms figure 3 and table 1.
Farm business profits will also be lower on average across all industries in , although more so in the case of the dairy industry. Although sheep specialists have not been spared the impacts of drought, favourable prices for wool and sheep-meat are expected to limit the worst of the effects. The average farm business profit for the sheep industry is expected to be positive in , compared with negative results for the beef, grains, and dairy industries.