Recent rains a godsend for farmers

August 25, 2016

By John Raffel

If you were outside a lot last weekend, you probably got wet from some of the several heavy rain showers that hit the area.
If you were a farmer, you were grinning from ear to ear.

Osceola County MSU Extension Services agent Gerald Lindquist said it had been getting dry in August until the rains in the past two weeks.

“Locally across Wexford and Osceola counties, most areas received an inch and a half to three inches of rainfall, which was desperately needed,” Lindquist said. “It is making the crops continue to grow well. We’re seeing some yield on some of the drier areas for corn where there will be lower yield. But overall, this was a very timely rain. It will make things look better at the end. It was a saving rainfall.”

Without this recent rain, there could have been potentially bad news for area farmers.

“There was some corn that was showing injury where a lot of it was drought stressed and the corn is starting to brown up,” Lindquist said. “We’re starting to see some corn fields that have greened up a little bit since the rain. We’re not out of the woods. We’re still going to need more rainfall. We still have almost another month of growing season. We’ll need rain down the road. With all the heat, this rain was very timely.

“Now days are getting shorter with daylight and cool down a little bit as we progress into September. So this was a most critical time. This rain couldn’t have come any later or we could have had more of a disaster on our hands.”

Compared to previous summers, “we were running five to six inches lower than normal below the five-year average,” Lindquist said. “That was a really telling factor for a rain shortage. Even in the drought year of 2012 we were getting a little more rain that year than what we got this year. Now, we’re about two to three inches below normal. We’re almost being on par. It will create a lot of variability in our crops, depending on whether someone did get rain or they didn’t get rain, and also what type of soil they have.

“We’ll see some good yield in places. We’ll see below average yields in other places. There’s a lot of variability right now.”

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