There are few domesticated animals that “go feral” as quickly as pigs, and there are few animals so well adapted to survival. Pigs can eat just about anything, and their adaptability means that feral swine are running wild in great numbers in Southeastern states like Florida, Texas, Georgia, and South Carolina. A recent study by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, UF/IFAS, shows that feral swine can cost cattle producers upwards of $2 million a year in lost production.
Cattle producers, especially in Southern regions, were hit pretty hard in 2012 due to extreme drought conditions. Fortunately, many strategies have been implemented to reduce the disastrous impact of drought conditions on cattle production and other agricultural operations.
To save your cattle operation and promote continued success, a grazing management approach must be pursued to help reduce some of the drought risks. Many of the following strategies were developed and put into practice with assistance from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; however, government backed farm loans are not the only viable option. In fact, some cattle operations impacted by drought conditions are outside government assistance program borders. Other cattle producers say that government agricultural loans are too slow or require too much paperwork. That’s where Bankers South would like to step in and offer farmland financing assistance.
To spare cattle operations from the worst of the drought, the following innovations have proven incredibly effective:
- Electric fence and pipeline. Add these systems to channel water to new tire tank watering facilities in each of the pastures.
- New pastures. Create new pastures, so cattle can move around more frequently and freely.
- Prescribed grazing. Protect soil from erosion and compaction. Improve the quality of the forage by giving it restoration time before it’s grazed again. Enhance water quality by stopping soil from flowing into the water supply. Avoid the expense of costly supplemental forage like hay, which has become even more costly due to drought conditions.
- Gravity flow systems. Conserve electricity by providing your cattle water via fenced ponds that rely on a gravity flow system to fill multiple tire tank watering facilities.
- Legumes. Eliminate commercial fertilizer, prevent erosion, improve the abundance of soil water, and supply nutrients like nitrogen. Legumes convert nitrogen gas in the atmosphere into soil nitrogen that plants can digest, meaning manure or commercial fertilizer may be needed in minute quantities or be totally abandoned.
To beat the drought elements, it’s paramount to pursue new practices and ideas – to think outside the box. To fully realize these new practices and ideas oftentimes requires the help of an ag lending company like Bankers South.
Work with Bankers South to help finance your agricultural land. Choose an agricultural loan that works best for you and that allows you to better implement a conservation plan to successfully get your cattle operation through the drought.