Extreme weather can often cause a multitude of problems for farmers. Especially with the effects of climate change, the seasons are much more unpredictable and can catch us off guard if we are not looking out for it. As we start to move into the dryer and more humid time of year, we have put together an easy to follow guide to help get your farm through a summer drought.
Depending on where your farm is situated, there may be agencies that you can confer with in regards to water supply. If you rent the land, speak to your landlord to find out if there are any drought plans already in place from previous tenants. If the land is your own, do you have access to a stream or river? If so, ensure that you have a way to transport the water from one place to another and that it will be safe to drink. If there are neighbouring farms, see if there are resources that you can share, such as a borehole. If there is a river or stream close by which is not on your land, speak to your local council to see if you would be allowed to collect any water or could potentially transport your animals to an area where they can access it readily.
One thing that we have a large amount of in this country is natural rainwater. Find ways of collecting this throughout the winter and spring, storing it in water barrels and tanks. This will also enable you to treat the water if you feel it is necessary, with easy to use cleansing tablets for example. Speak to your vet to see what water treatments they can suggest. For an easy way to collect and transport rainwater to your storage barrels, take a look at our wide range of high quality buckets and tubs.
Even though there will be a cost at the start of setting up an irrigation system, it will be worth the investment in years to come. It will help to reduce the risk of crops being destroyed in the heat and will keep the food source for your grazing animals healthy enough to eat. Plan your times of irrigation wisely, such as scheduling it for the cooler parts of the day where the water will have time to be absorbed without evaporating instantly.
Healthy soil will retain water for longer, so first of all check that the soil is of a good standard. Plant your crops closely together or in groups, as this makes the area for watering much smaller and minimises needless evaporation. Ensure that there are no weeds within the crops or in the surrounding areas, as they will use the precious water in order to sustain themselves. If you have smaller areas that need watering then you can try to reduce wastage by using a precise spraying accessory, such as the Di Martino 10 Pressure Sprayer with Regulator.
Speak to your vet if you become concerned about not being able to give your animals an adequate amount of water. They may be aware of official avenues of help that you can access and will be able to offer advice in regards to warning signs that your animals are dehydrated. Ensure that there is ample shade on offer to your animals, as keeping them out of the sun will help them to retain water for longer. The following is a recommended guide for what your animals should be drinking on a daily basis;
More water may be required for the young and old animals on your farm. You can also contact the RSPCA is you are concerned about the effects of a drought on your animals.
Having a plan in place is crucial when it comes to a water shortage. You may not need to implement it every year, as extreme weather can be unpredictable, but spending time on a plan of action now will certainly help you and your farm in the long run. Reducing your water usage in other areas will also help, such as cutting some of your regular non-essential cleaning routines.