What is Dry Farming?
Dry farming is a low-input, place-based approach to producing crops within the constraints of your climate. As we define it, a dry-farmed crop is irrigated once or not at all.
What are the benefits?
- Flavor. Dry-farmed crops have enhanced flavor.
- Storability. Dry-farmed crops store longer.
- Weed control. No irrigation means fewer weeds to manage.
- Conservation. Water. Energy. Time.
- Land use. Farm otherwise productive land that lacks water rights.
- Resilience. Adapt to a drier climate.
How Does Dry Farming Work?
- Dry farming utilizes water stored throughout the soil profile.
- Deep soils with good water-holding capacity are ideal.
- Early soil prep and planting essential.
- Drought-tolerant or early maturing cultivars best.
- Lower planting density.
- Improve soil health and water-holding capacity with cover cropping, rotating crops, and minimizing soil disturbance.
Yields are less, so the price of dry-farmed produce tends to be higher, but worth it for the superior flavor and the sustainability benefits.
Oregon State University Dry Farming Project Resources, including books and other publications.
Dry Farming Collaborative on Facebook