Illinois farmers welcome weekend rains, but need more

Scattered rain showers crossed Illinois over the weekend bringing much needed precipitation to some areas while falling short in others.  

State Climatologist Trent Ford tells Brownfield some areas of east central and southeastern Illinois got 2 inches or more, the Interstate 70 corridor got about an inch, and totals in the northern half of the state were less than half an inch.

As of Thursday, 97% of the state was considered abnormally dry with more than half in moderate drought. Ford says row crops are hanging on for now.

“But gosh, if we get through June and into July with less than an inch of rain in, in some of the places that have picked up less an inch of rain over the last 60 days, it’s going to be tough to not see some impacts start to take place.”

He says pasture regrowth has been poor and more consistent rains are needed to refill stock ponds.

“If you’re only getting 1/4 of an inch of rain or a 1/2 inch of rain at a time, that top 4 inches of soil is just going to suck that up because we’re talking about soils that are pretty much as dry as they can be in some places in the top 4 inches. So that water is going to go there first before it infiltrates down enough to get into those stock ponds.”

Ford says the 14-day forecast does look more promising for precipitation than recent weeks, but like the weekend event, rains will be scattered.

“Cautiously optimistic that more of the state between now and the 4th of July will get a lot more active weather and a bit more rain than what we saw at the beginning of the growing season. But we need it, so if there are places that do miss out on that then they won’t be in great shape.”

Interview with Trent Ford

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