The annual Beck's Hybrids/Indiana Prairie Farmer winter seed giveaway is back. It gives you extra incentive to follow weather patterns and see if you can outguess the weather professionals when it comes to predicting how much snow Indiana will receive this winter.
The contest is simple. Guess the total amount of snow that will fall from Dec. 1 to Feb. 28 at three Indiana locations: LaPorte, Whitestown and Paoli. Come closest to the combined total, and you win six bags of Beck's Hybrid seed corn for 2014. Come in second and you get six bags of soybean seed. Come in third and get six bags of wheat seed or equivalent if you don't grow wheat.
You even get an edge – you don't have to submit your entry until Jan. 15, half-way through the winter season. By then you should have a better handle on what winter might look like.
Ken Scheeringa, associate state climatologist, picked the locations. "We selected established stations in the northern, central and southern parts of the state that have long track records of accurate reporting," he says.
The LaPorte station is in the snow belt coming off of Lake Michigan. Snow totals range from a low of 25.9 inches in 2006 to a high of 101.3 inches in 2008. The area received 50.5 inches in 2012.
At Whitestown, the low over the last 30-plus years was 4.5 inches in 2001. The high total was 45.8 inches in 1996. The 2012 total was 17 inches.
Paoli totals reflect a much more southern location. No snow was reported several times. The high is 28.8 in 2010 over the last 30 plus years.
These are totals for Dec 1 through Feb 28. That is what climatologists count as winter, Scheeringa notes.
You can watch for an entry blank for the contest in the November issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer. You can also enter by email. Include your name, address, cell phone number, acres farmed, and guesses for total snow accumulation at each site – La Porte, Whitestown and Paoli.