Newly Updated Drought Tips Available for Farmers

[In the fourth year of California drought, strategies for managing many crops are available from UC ANR.]

by Jeannette Warnert, jewarnert@ucanr.edu
UC ANR
August 25, 2015

Drought strategies for managing alfalfa and many other crops are available free from UC Agriculture and Natural Resources. As California endures a fourth year of drought and ever-tightening water supplies, water-management strategies have become even more critical to farmers.

(photo: UC ANR)
(photo: UC ANR)

To help farmers make the best use of the water they have available, a series of new and updated drought tips fact sheets has been developed by UC ANR scientists and funded by the California Department of Water Resources.

“These drought tips provide irrigation management recommendations for a broad range of agricultural crops and under different water supply conditions,” said Daniele Zaccaria, UC ANR Cooperative Extension agricultural water management specialist at UC Davis and major organizer of the drought tip series. “The information in these tips will be of practical use for growers and other water-related stakeholders now and into the future as our agricultural community continues to adapt to climate variability and to a changing water supply situation.”

UC ANR scientists have identified best management practices for a wide range of annual and permanent crops and irrigation systems and methods during the drought. In the drought tips series, they also give advice for managing soil salinity and using shallow groundwater for irrigating crops.  For beef cattle, they provide recommendations for culling herds and feeding to supplement grazing.

The following drought tips are currently available for free download at http://ucanr.edu/drought-tips:

  • Drought strategies for alfalfa
  • Drought management for California almonds
  • Use of shallow groundwater for crop production
  • Drought strategies for walnuts
  • Fog contribution to crop water use
  • Reclaiming Saline, Sodic and Saline-Sodic Soils

Several more drought tips for dozens of commodities and situations are in the process of being published and will be posted online soon.

Decades of UC ANR research underlie the information contained in the drought tips. In the 1970s and again in the 1990s, UC ANR partnered with DWR to develop a series of drought management fact sheets.

“DWR has worked with UC ANR to update the drought tips and make sure the latest and best information on water management is available to growers,” said Peter Brostrom, DWR Water Use Efficiency Section Manager.

The California Institute for Water Resources, which coordinates water-related research and extension education across the 10 UC campuses and UCANR, has the drought tips and more drought resources online at http://ciwr.ucanr.edu.

“Even if El Niño brings rain this fall, water scarcity will continue to impact California farmers,” said Doug Parker, director of UC ANR’s California Institute for Water Resources. “As climate change continues to reduce the average annual snowpack, it is likely that droughts in California will become more frequent and severe in the years to come.”

UC ANR’s California Institute for Water Resources and the California Department of Water Resources also offer drought-related information in a series of videos. Water experts from UC and other agencies and institutions have recorded presentations on high-priority drought topics. Currently 38 videos can be accessed for free on computers and mobile devices at http://ucanr.edu/insights.

As California endures a fourth year of drought and ever-tightening water supplies, water management strategies have become more critical. To help growers and others make the best use of the water they have available, this drought management science-based, peer-reviewed series was developed by the University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources with support from the California Department of Water Resources.

TITLE AUTHORS
Drought strategies for alfalfa Steve Orloff, UC Cooperative Extension; Dan Putnam, UC Davis; Khaled Bali, UC Cooperative Extension
Drought management for California almonds David Doll, UC Cooperative Extension; Kenneth Shackel, UC Davis
Drought strategies for walnuts Allan Fulton and Richard Buchner, UC Cooperative Extension
Use of shallow groundwater for crop production Mark Grismer, UC Davis; Khaled Bali, UC Cooperative Extension
Reclaiming saline, sodic, and saline-sodic soils Anthony O’Geen, UC Davis
Fog contribution to crop water use Rick Snyder, UC Davis


Draft drought tips 

These drought tips are currently in the peer review process and will be updated with finalized versions as they become available.

TITLE  AUTHORS
Managing irrigated corn under drought conditions Mark Lundy, UC Davis
Drought strategies for table and oil olive production Dani Lightle and Joseph Connell, UC Cooperative Extension
Managing irrigated pasture during drought Steve Orloff, UC Cooperative Extension; Charlie Brummer and Dan Putnam, UC Davis
Drought strategies for wine grapes Mark Battany, UC Cooperative Extension
Drought strategies for beef cattle culling Josh Davy, Jeff Stackhouse, and Glenn Nader, UC Cooperative Extension
Drought strategies for feeding cattle grazing annual grassland  Josh Davy, Larry Forero, Jeff Stackhouse, and Glenn Nader, UC Cooperative Extension
Supplemental feeds for cattle operations during drought Josh Davy, Jeff Stackhouse, and Glenn Nader, UC Cooperative Extension
Crop salt tolerance Stephen R. Grattan, UC Davis
Comparing the costs of electric motors and engines for irrigation pumping Samuel Sandoval Solis, Pablo T. Silvia-Jordan, Daniele Zaccaria, UC Davis

(Article by Ann Filmer, Department of Plant Sciences, UC Davis)

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