Oklahoma Conservation Commission's Blane Stacy Says Don't wait till it Gets Dry to Enact your Drought PlanSun, 24 Jul 2022 16:09:01 CDT
The Oklahoma Cattlemen's Convention Wrapped up this weekend with Several Guest speakers, a Congressional & Senate Forum, and a Sold out Trade Show. Farm Director KC Sheperd stopped by the Oklahoma Conservation Commission Booth to catch up with Blane Stacy, Range land specialist. He said if you're waiting till it gets dry to enact your drought plan, you've waited too long, "Here at the conservation commission, we do consultation outreach, education, soil conservation, and we're trying to drought-proof your ranch."
Stacy said they are looking at solutions to help your bottom line, "We're looking at doing grazing management principles, soil principles that not only hopefully help the bottom line for profitability, but these same principles will increase water filtration in your soils, and maintain an environment and a functional ecosystem. It has vitality and can absorb more moisture when you get it."
Stacy said preparing the soil is essential because it can prevent runoff when we see those heavy rains roll in. "If you maintain an ecosystem prepared to take in that moisture, every drop that goes in the ground that's money in the bank. If you see water leaving your property, that's really what we want to avoid." Stacy said the goal is to maintain a landscape that absorbs moisture quickly and holds onto it for more extended periods of time, "That way, you can weather these dry periods for longer."
To get started on your landscape Stacy says the first step is to evaluate your land: "You don't know what you don't know. So that's where we come in. We offer education outreach and on-farm consultations, and if you don't know where you stand, give us a call. We'd be glad to assist. We can play with grazing management; we can play with rotational grazing paddocks; we can look at developing grass or plant mixes that you can plant to improve your soil hopefully."
Stacy says they want to allow everyone to be more profitable and to improve the landscape we rely on to make a living, and he says a soil sample is a great place to start, "We can do soil sampling, or you can rely on your local OSU Extension. A soil sample gives you a good snapshot of where you stand regarding fertility and management and then always keeping the soil covered and protected. Anytime that soil becomes exposed to wind or water impact, that's a negative impact, and we want to try and avoid that at all costs."
Stacy said it's also imperative to have a drought management plan so that when we are experiencing drought, you will have some options, "Having a zero level forage, availability. Having a plan to have a trigger and stick to that plan." Stacy said they've had to let some livestock go during this dry spell, but he's hopeful, "I think we're in a good place with our grass and forage availability moving forward, that we can stretch that grass out for a little more dry spell, but we're still praying for rain."
For more information from the Oklahoma conservation commission on soil health, soil sampling, and more, you can go to www.ok.gov/conservation
click or tap below to hear KC's complete conversation with Blane Stacy
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