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.