Droughts are a part of Australian agriculture and being prepared for them should be normal business. When you’re in drought, the options are always limited. It’s what you do during non-drought periods that will see you fare better when times get tough. As you’d expect, the key lies in building resilience.
Good pasture condition is one key to buffering yourself against drought. Well-fertilised drought-hardy pastures provide more flexibility going into and coming out of a drought. That flexibility may be seen in better stock condition, more time to act and faster recovery. To get to that point of understanding, selecting and growing the best adapted pastures for your property is key. Perennial species are generally far more valuable than annuals, so if the proportion of annual grass species in your paddocks is high then it’s a sign that resilience is likely to be low and that you need to work on a drought mitigation plan.
Of course, building your capacity to withstand a dry future means looking at more than just pasture. Water supply, dam construction and maintenance, reticulated stock water, irrigation, soil management and livestock enterprise mix can all be a part of your plan for drought protection. Good drought management also means knowing when to invoke key tools at your disposal, such as drought-lotting.