One of the best ways to prepare for drought is by building and maintaining a drought reserve. A drought reserve is forage (grass, forbs, brush or whatever your livestock will eat) that is not consumed by the animals during the growing season. This forage is then available if rain doesn’t come or can be grazed during the dormant season.
The traditional and most logical way to build a drought reserve is to set aside some land and not graze it. If you need to, you can turn your livestock into these areas and they can survive on the forage you have stockpiled there. Think of this as a savings account. But instead of saving money, you are saving forage.
In a traditional drought reserve your savings account is separate from your checking account. Think of your checking account as grass that you are grazing, possibly multiple times a year. The balance in your checking account changes all the time; sometimes you have a surplus of grass and at other times you might be low.
The traditional drought reserve might seem like a good idea, but Ian Mitchell-Innes of South Africa uses a different technique to build a drought reserve that is far superior to the traditional way of stockpiling grass. Mitchell-Innes learned this from holistic management planned grazing, and I learned this technique during my internship on his ranch. The most exciting feature of building a drought reserve in this manner is the fact that your entire farm/ranch is the drought reserve. Continue Reading →