Drought not particular about who it affects. By Tom J. Bechman
Southwest Indiana is as hard hit as anywhere by the drought, partly because of their soil types, and partly because it simply hasn’t rained there. Don Villwock, president of Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc., has the proof that it just didn’t rain in southwest Indiana, certainly not in June.
He subscribes to MyRainScout.com, a weather service that reports rainfall based upon Doppler radar images and an algorithm developed by the company. Beck’s Hybrids has exclusive rights to distribute it in Indiana. You don’t have to be a customer to subscribe.
For $300, you can sign up to 10 locations, and receive both daily and monthly reports of rainfall. Villwock selected 10 locations that covers a large part of the areas where they farm. In June, his monthly total readings for the entire month ranged from no rain at one location to 0.66 inch at the location that received the most. More than half of his virtual rain gauges recorded less than o.5 inches for the entire month.
Hearsay reports indicate that the service is relatively accurate. If anything, it tends to overestimate slightly how much rain falls. Southwestern Indiana didn’t leave a lot of room for overestimating in June! You can’t get much drier than nothing.
As a result, many fields there, especially on sandy soils, are already in serious trouble. Villwock, wearing his Farm Bureau hat, issued a statement last week saying that despite the tough conditions, Indiana Farm Bureau would do everything possible to help farmers cope. He knows firsthand what others are experiencing.
Meanwhile, some relief over the weekend before the Fourth of July came to spotty locations. But in some cases it brought more storm damage than it did helpful rain or cooler temperatures. Electricity was off long enough in parts of northern Indiana to cause people to buy generators just to maintain basic services, including keeping frozen meat in freezers from spoiling.