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Serving: IN

Variable Rain Patterns in Summer are Nothing New

Variable Rain Patterns in Summer are Nothing New
Variation in who is getting rain and who isn't getting as much starting to show up.

Many people would tell you June was a wet month, and they have either drowned out spots in fields or spots that are smaller and still yellow, unavailable to get all the nitrogen they need yet. Others would talk about replanting or about taking prevented planting on fields near creek bottoms and not even planting a crop.

However, there are those in tiny strips here and there who actually want rain. Storms have gone around them instead of dropping rain where they need it. So far this year, those people are in the minority, vs. 2012 when almost no one in Indiana got significant rain in June.

Too much for most! Localized thunderstorms dumped too much rain in many parts of Indiana early in the season.

The variation in rainfall resulting from pop-up thunderstorms is nothing new in Indiana. Jim Newman, retired climatologist from Purdue University, pointed it out as the normal pattern years ago. That's why he told farmers you need to do more than look out the back door at your crops before deciding what the markets might do.

Related: Ponding Threatens Some Corn Fields

Commodity markets are based on what happens across the country, particularly the Corn Belt, not just in your county or township.

Mike Thurow with Spectrum Technologies, makers and providers of equipment to measure almost anything in agriculture, including rainfall, says Iowa State University conducted a study on a 40-acre field, putting up 17 weather stations, about one for every 2.5 acres.

Over a two-year period in the growing seasons only, they found a difference of two inches in total rainfall from the highest to lowest reporting station within the 40-acre field.

"That kind of difference can make an 8 to 12 bushel difference in corn yield," he says. He adds that it could be even higher if the timing of the difference in rainfall comes at a critical point in the plant's development.

Weather experts say the stormy pattern with average temperatures is likely to continue across Indiana for the short-term. Expect more variation in rainfall between you and your neighbors, maybe even on your own farm.

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