Drought Status and Some Things to Consider

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 The lack of spring and summer moisture has provided challenges for Prairie beef producers in laying in feed and grazing supplies for their stock. There are a few things we'd like Alberta producers to consider as they manage the challenges these dry conditions create.

The drought situation is not localized. Agriculture & Agri-food Canada - PFRA average rainfall and pasture situation maps (1) highlight that the bulk of the prairies have and may continue to suffer from a shortage of moisture. Feed and grazing to supplement your stocks may be more than "just a bit further down the road". Bidding for these fiber sources will be competitive.

You need information to manage logically. However, it's important to filter what you get from the press of the day, screening for objectivity and relevance. Cool heads make better decisions.

Situations vary from producer to producer - remember, you're making decisions based on your status, not what everyone else is doing. Some producers have the good fortune of having feed and grazing on hand. Some are in the financial position to cope with the cash flow implications of seeking alternate feed sources. Others are not. At issue are your local situation, your options, and your financial ability to manage your way through the drought.

Options may not be extreme - all-or-none. Focusing on middle ground solutions now to generate cash flow allows you to work for profit later. If you have the opportunity, and cash flow, build in flexibility and options for your operation in the upcoming weeks and months.

Creative solutions and opportunities may go beyond the borders of your farm. They may involve partnering with neighbors and family. The goal is to maintain the core of your productive asset base - if the opportunity is available.

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development has compiled a group of reference materials for producers regarding:

  • Managing in drought situations,
  • A variety of options & solutions, and
  • Analysis and decision making - guides to making rational decisions in potentially stressful circumstances.

It can be accessed through the "Ropin' the Web" site or through the Alberta Ag-Info Centre, toll free, at 1-866-882-7677.
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Anatoliy Oginskyy.
This document is maintained by Shukun Guan.
This information published to the web on July 18, 2002.
Last Reviewed/Revised on August 2, 2018.