In Sweden, strategies to cope with drought have gained importance during the last decade because of the ongoing climate change recurrent summer drought. Åke Johansson, Färjestaden has a farm with 320 dairy cows in one of the driest regions in Sweden, Öland. There are several parts in his drought strategy:
- When establishing ley, the whole sowing process has to be quick to retain soil moisture.
- Lucerne is an essential part of the seed mixture. It is inoculated and sprayed with Basagran 5G against weeds.
- Controlled traffic farming (CTF) saves the legumes from clearly obvious wheel tracks.
- Drainage control is beneficial. Åke minimises unnecessary drainage by soil dams in open ditches.
- Harvest starts immediately when the sward starts to dry out.
Irrigation equipment was installed in 2015 on a dairy farm with 140 cows plus recruitment, owned by Mattias and Christer Wahlström in Skärlöv, close to the Baltic Sea. A pond that occupies 2-8 ha and holds 125,000 m3 collects surface water during the rainy seasons. With 5.5 km of pipeline and 30 sprayers, 130 ha can be irrigated at a time, using two cannons and a boom. Forage yield increased by 300% thanks to this investment! That released 35 h of arable land for cash crops.
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