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Prepare for Drought Regardless of Recent Rains

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It may seem odd to talk about drought when we, here in Ardmore, Oklahoma, have received more rain in the last few weeks than we've seen in months.

The recent rains in portions of the Southern Great Plains have been helpful, and we are thankful for them. However, many areas are still behind in precipitation or did not receive enough rain to completely alleviate drought conditions.

As you can see from the most recent drought monitor, much of Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Colorado and the western states are still in some form of drought. A portion of northern Oklahoma is now experiencing exceptional drought, the drought monitor's most intense rating.

Drought map of Western Oklahoma and North Texas from http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Western Oklahoma and North Texas remain in extreme drought. A portion of northern Oklahoma has progressed into exceptional drought.

Your Best Bet For Success: Have a Plan

Climatologists continue to forecast above-average temperatures and below-average precipitation across the southern U.S. for the next few months. Drought will likely remain in much of the South and West.

If you farm, ranch or otherwise manage natural resources in any area experiencing drought, we recommend you have contingency plans in place now. Drought can cost you economically, emotionally and environmentally, especially when action is delayed. A plan will allow you to more easily make decisions later, if your situation becomes more severe.

Gather your information and, if needed, start taking steps to manage the effects of drought before they worsen. This could include adjusting stocking rates and making plans to buy hay or other supplemental feed.

Drought Map from https://www.mesonet.orgLong-term forecasts, through the end of May, predict drought will continue across much of the Southern Great Plains and farther west. However, some areas will likely see some improvement or even removal.

Drought Resources

We've compiled our articles on how to manage through drought at noble.org/drought. This webpage will continue to be updated with timely information, including the most recent U.S. Drought Monitor map.

You'll find information and tips for managing drought from livestock, economics, soils and crops, pasture and range, and wildlife and fisheries perspectives. Some specific topics include:

To see an overview of drought considerations and tips, check out this list compiled by Noble Research Institute agricultural consultants.

We'll also be sharing tips on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so feel free to follow us there.

We hope these resources will help you make your plans and carry them out. If you would like to talk to a an ag consultant about a specific problem you're facing, please reach out to us on our Ag Helpline online or by calling 580-224-6500.

Will Moseley has worked as a wildlife and fisheries consultant at Noble Research Institute since 2008. He received his bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries management from Texas Tech University and his master’s degree in range and wildlife management from Texas A&M University – Kingsville. His primary interests are centered on using prescribed fire and grazing to improve ecosystem health on rangelands to benefit biodiversity.