Tuesday, February 26, 2013

This should help!



A co-worker and I were debating this year's coming drought the other day, especially relative to its effects on grass and therefore large domestic herbivores in Colorado. This came in the wake of dire forecasts in local media and across the West. With little forage, livestock feeding started early last fall, hay prices doubled, and groceries will too, after a lag.

Thus the snow that fell energetically all day Sunday, delivering 8 to 12 inches (20-30 cm) across the Front Range, was greeted with universal enthusiasm. Guess what it's doing out there today? After a wimpy start, today's storm (above) is now gaining its own momentum. Six or eight more of these, and we should be in good shape!

My colleague is right that drought bodes ill in many ways, from another bad wildfire season to water rationing in municipalities, but the native grasses of the Great Plains of Colorado have seen such episodes many times before. Give them a little encouragement—and this storm certainly will—and they'll be back! That, however, is a topic for another day.

Changing the subject somewhat, I'm happy to report that we have a great selection of submissions for this month's Berry-Go-Round. Thanks to all of you diligent plant bloggers, we'll have some good reading for you here later this week!

4 comments:

The Phytophactor said...

The midwest generally gets a lot of its precipitation in winter snow. It's why winter wheat works so well in this climate. The native grasses will be OK, but severe drought does limit their growth. My tallgrass prairie was about 4 feet shorter than usual, although the big bluestem was about as tall as usual, so the forbs faired less well than the grasses.

Sally said...

Thanks, Phactor. We get most of our snowstorms in March-- at least we used to! Now they may be shifting. Our big blue is shorter than yours, but yes, survival in grasses isn't the same as thriving!

Joy K. said...

I think your link to Berry-Go-Round may be a little off. I'm taken straight to the WordPress main page.

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