Rain not yet enough for local farmers

Published 7:02 pm Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The weather is a general conversation piece for many people, but for farmers, the weather is a matter of livelihood.

The rain for Pike County this planning season has been favorable for farmers within the last two weeks, but that rainfall was not necessarily spread across the county evenly.

According to Jeff Knotts, executive director for the Pike County Farm Service Agency, some areas received an abundance of rainfall up to 5 inches or more, while other areas have only received fractions of an inch.

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“Overall, the areas that received rainfall from the last two weeks should be in good shape,” Knotts said.

Knotts said conditions seem to be favorable at the moment, but things can always change.

“Things right now look pretty good,“ he said. “But it can dry up that rain in the next two weeks, and we can be right back where we started.”

Last year, good crops and good yields were reported, despite problems during the winter season.

In the winter of 2009, some areas actually received too much rain, a problem farmers hadn’t seen for years.

Knotts says receiving too much rain can cause erosion or cause planted seeds to rot in the ground.

Storms, though they bring rain, can also be fatal to certain crops if the wind speed is too high.

“Wind and corn don’t go together,” said Knotts.

He also said the early drought this season, prior to the recent rain received, had stressed corn crops within the county.

Peanuts and cotton, however, can do without as much rainfall, and wind is only a factor when cotton grows higher.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Mark Linhares said the county had more rain last year, but drought is not a reality at the moment.

“Up until June 9 (of last year) there were five more inches of rain,” Linhares said. “It’s not dry enough to be any kind of drought yet. It’s still normal.”

But he also said this year’s temperature forecast looks slightly above normal.

Bill Sanders, who has been farming in Goshen for 40 years, said he hopes the rain will continue to pour on his corn and soybean crops.

“We had some good rain last week,” Sanders said. “We need to keep the rain coming.”