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dry farming

dry farming, farming system adopted in areas having an annual rainfall of approximately 15 to 20 in. (38.1–50.8 cm)—with much of the rainfall in the spring and early summer—where irrigation is impractical. Seeding rates are used that correspond to the soil water supply; management practices that minimize water loss and soil erosion are also utilized. The land is often summer-fallowed (not used for crops) in alternate years to conserve moisture. Dry-land crops must be either drought-resistant or drought-evasive, i.e., maturing in late spring or fall; special varieties of crops such as wheat, barley, corn, sorghum, and rye are often used.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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