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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Jun 15, 2012

It was a Monday morning dilemma. Over the weekend, with Saturday night in particular, the weather service was saying we had an 80 percent chance of rain with accumulations of one-half to three-quarters of an inch.

Our dry weather that started almost a year ago let up in time to provide some moisture to get the crops started, but in the last month, we have had an excess of dust and a shortage of mud.

That is why I was pleased to see what was in the weather forecast. It was not a lot, but it would certainly provide some relief.

Yet, the crops looks good with the April-planted corn having the loveliest deep dark green color. Crops are progressing nicely, changing in appearance almost from day to day.

Saturday afternoon, the sky darkened and those dark gray storm clouds told me something was headed our way. I was hoping it would not be one those sudden soakers where all the rain falls in a few minutes, washing away topsoil and little plants.

However, I was not in a position to be picky about rainfall of any kind, just as long as it rained.

Finally, it began to rain and then only minutes later, it stopped. I checked the radar and there was another narrow band approaching. Maybe that will amount to something.

It was beginning to look about a tenth of an inch was about as much as we were going to get. That is a long way from a half to three-quarters of an inch.

By that time, it was time to turn in for the night and hope for the best.

This morning I checked my rain gauge and there was a quarter inch of rain in it.

That was my Monday morning dilemma. Should I grumble or be grateful?

My first reaction was to grumble.

Where was the rest of my rain? Another half-inch is not that much to ask for is it?

Remember the good old days when we would get two and three inches of rain at a time? Oh, that was a long time ago.

Now I am hoping for rain and anything over an inch would be greatly appreciated.

Should I be grateful for a measly quarter of an inch of badly needed rain?

Well, a quarter of an inch is better than nothing. It will buy a little bit of time.

I have to admit things look good in spite of the short rainfall. Our potato plants in our new garden are starting to flower.

Those root systems are searching for any available moisture right now and I am sure a long, cool drink is needed and would be appreciated by the green plants and me, in that order.

I will remind myself that last summer and fall the rain stopped but we had a good crop anyway.

So I guess I will be grateful for what I have so far and have faith that there will be rain in the future although the forecast does not say it will be this week. It is one of those forecasts I would prefer that the weather service be wrong.

Satellite guided equipment that can match fertilizer and herbicide rates and seed population to soil conditions do not mean much when it does not rain.

I can remember my dad hoping for rain when he had four-row equipment, and I am sure his dad hoped for rain when he farmed with horses.

They had to decide whether to be grateful or grumble when they were disappointed, too.

This is one of those times when farming teaches humility. Oh yes, and patience.

Come on, rain. Even a measly quarter inch is starting to look good.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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