State Again Facing a Water Divide: Consider Advice Accordingly - UNL CropWatch;, May 8, 2013

State Again Facing a Water Divide: Consider Advice Accordingly - UNL CropWatch;, May 8, 2013

May 8, 2013

East versus west. Wet versus dry. It looks like we're starting this year with very different conditions depending on where you live in the state. (See Nebraska map in the U.S. Drought Monitor.)

Much of eastern Nebraska has received relatively abundant precipitation this past month, not enough to fully recharge soil moisture but at least enough to give us a good start. Unfortunately, most of southwest and western Nebraska still remains locked in the drought.

It's important to keep this in mind when you read or listen to farm and ranch advice in magazines, newspapers, or on the radio. Most advice assumes certain kinds of growing conditions. Advice for good moisture locations usually isn't suitable for drought areas and recommendations dealing with drought rarely optimize production where rainfall is good.

Sometimes it's not very clear whether the topic is directed toward dry or wetter areas. For example, I often discuss fertilizing grasses during spring but sometimes I don't comment much on fertilizing relative to spring soil moisture conditions. That advice assumes that moisture will be adequate to take advantage of the potential growth stimulation by the fertilizer. The advice is good for those with adequate moisture, but should be ignored by those still deep in the drought.

This kind of confusion or apparently misleading advice is likely to continue until either everyone is in full drought again or the entire region is back to good moisture. Until then, use only the recommendations that fit your conditions.

Bruce Anderson
Extension Forage Specialist