Words by by Mark Badertscher, OSU Extension Educator.
Hardin County – During the month of August, Extension volunteer rainfall reporters received an average of 2.63 inches of rain. The most rain for this month, 4.54 inches, fell in Marion Township as measured by Mark Lowery. The least rain reported during the month, 1.20 inches was reported in Jackson Township by Rick Weber. During the same month last year, an average of 4.78 inches of rain fell. The rainfall recorded in August over the past ten years averaged 3.57 inches.
For the growing season since April 15, the average precipitation in the townships was 22.87 inches, ranging from 26.75 inches in Roundhead Township to 16.71 inches in Liberty Township. The growing season average rainfall was 3.06 inches above the ten-year average for Hardin County through August.
Adequate rainfall in July combined with warm temperatures greened up crops and provided enough soil moisture heading into August. Soybeans and corn looked good in August, although these crops were a month behind on the calendar as far as normal growth stages were concerned. Soybean plants were shorter than normal with fewer pods per plant due to less rainfall in August to produce growth nodes. Corn was also behind during the month of August, with early planted corn looking better than late planted corn. Crops were faced with shorter days for growing degree units and kernel fill.
Dryer conditions led to a slow-down in growth of forages, decreasing tonnage of an already short supply of hay. Sorghum-Sudangrass seedings provided needed sources of forages for some dairy operations. Farmers took advantage of drier soils to get field work done such as tillage and cover crop seeding. Cover crops established earlier in prevented planted fields showed growth and greened up several area fields. Other prevented planted fields provided opportunities for tiling and manure applications. Currently some early fields of soybeans are being harvested, with corn silage harvest operations to follow. Dry weather has caused crops to dry down at a faster rate, speeding up the potential harvest of some soybean and corn fields.