Hardin County Extension Season Rainfall Summary

Posted on November 13, 2020

Hardin County – With the help of fifteen volunteer rainfall reporters, the Hardin County Extension office has collected unofficial township rainfall data for the past twenty-eight consecutive years.  The 2020 growing season began with some early planting in April followed by wet fields for most of May.  This caused issues with ponding, replanting, and some crops getting planted later than planned.  Once crops did get planted, the months of June and July brought a dry period with parts of Hardin County being in a moderate drought area as determined by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Because some farmers got a late start on planting corn combined with low market prices and high input costs, some acres were switched to soybean.  Later planting and dryer weather in June helped with weed control and timing of herbicide applications in crops.  However, the hot and dry conditions during the months of June and July did affect pollination and ear development in several areas of the county, reducing yield potential for corn.  Because soybeans are non-determinant plants, they were able to adjust their growth and development and add growth nodes and pods where rainfall was adequate later in the season.  This ability of the soybean to adapt to the weather conditions is a reason why there has been so much variation in yields.  Because of favorable weather in May, forages were harvested on time in June with better quality.  However, lack of rain in June and July decreased tonnage of forages harvested this year for later cuttings.

Dry conditions in June also allowed farmers to harvest a wheat crop with less disease and grain quality issues.  Wheat yields were average compared to other years, however this crop was harvested in a timely fashion, providing cash flow and made fields available for manure applications and cover crop seeding.  Double crop planting of soybeans was limited because of the dry moisture conditions in fields following wheat harvest.  Following a dry period in June and July, crops received very important rains in August.  Forages continued to be harvested and corn and soybean fields showed more vegetative growth.  Since corn root growth was slowed early in the season, some fields were slower to take advantage of applied nitrogen, causing slow growth and dry down of the crop later in the season.

September brought more rainfall for area crops, which benefited later maturing varieties.  Much of the corn crop was already slowed by drought stress earlier in the season.  Ear development and kernel fill was not as productive in the fields where lack of rainfall was an issue earlier in the season.  Later maturing soybeans took advantage of this rainfall and helped finish off the crop.  The first half of October brought an average of 0.57 inches of rain to the county, which is below the ten-year average of 1.18 inches.  The least amount of rainfall in the first half of October was 0.32 inches reported by Mark Lowery in Marion Township.  George Ziegler reported 0.80 inches of rain in Pleasant Township for the same time-period.

During the growing season, from April 15 through October 15, average rainfall was 20.35 inches, which made 2020 a dry year.  This is 4.57 inches below the ten-year average growing season precipitation, and 5.76 less inches of rain than last year’s growing season.  The difference was that this season’s rainfall was light during the months of June and July.  The most rainfall recorded during the growing season was 25.55 inches in Hale Township by Travis Ramsey.  The least rainfall in the county was recorded in Jackson Township by Rick Weber, with 16.20 inches for the season.  The ten-year average for total growing season rainfall in Hardin County is 24.92 inches.

Soybean yields were variable this year across the county, however better than many producers expected.  The soybean crop was harvested at low moisture and small seed size in several fields.  Some soybean fields did extremely well, depending on the planting date and rainfall received.  Corn is still being harvested so yields are not complete, as moisture was higher earlier in the harvest season.  Current moisture levels in corn have come down in some fields in recent days.  Overall, corn yields most likely will be lower this year due to drought stress and lack of rain, with the exception of areas of the county where rainfall was plentiful.

Winter wheat acres planted this fall and hay fields planted late summer are off to a good start with planting that was followed by rains and mild fall temperatures.  Herbicide, fertilizer, lime, and manure applications have happened in some fields.  Some fall tillage has occurred around the county with some cornfields still waiting to be harvested after later maturity and slow dry down of grain.

 

Hardin County Extension Rainfall Report for October 1-15, 2020 (recorded in inches)

Township Reporter October

1-15

2020

Growing Season

(from Apr. 15-2020)

Blanchard Township Nutrien Ag Solutions 0.65 22.05
Buck Township Heritage Cooperative (Kenton) 0.65 18.45
Cessna Township Madelyn Lowery 0.70 19.27
Dudley Township Dale Rapp 0.62 22.52
Goshen Township John Brien 0.57 19.14
Hale Township Travis Ramsey 0.50 25.55
Jackson Township Rick Weber 0.50 16.20
Liberty Township Phil Epley 0.45 17.85
Lynn Township Jan Layman 0.77 24.13
Marion Township Mark Lowery 0.32 18.79
McDonald Township Jerry Stout 0.58 19.92
Pleasant Township George Ziegler 0.80 18.80
Roundhead Township Mike Lautenschlager 0.50 18.10
Taylor Creek Township Silver Creek Supply 0.55 22.09
Washington Township Randy Preston 0.42 22.33
  Average 0.57 20.35

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