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Agricultural News for Farmers and Agribusiness in SW Georgia

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Rain in 2014 – Enough but at the Wrong Times

Posted by romeethredge on January 20, 2015

In 2014 we had above average rainfall. But, looking only at the averages is deceiving. I know of several dryland fields that were not worth harvesting this year due to dry weather and the insect and fertility problems that come with dry weather.  Why did we have extremely high expenses for irrigation and sleepless night checking on irrigation systems and maintaining them. How can that happen?

We need to remember that we are never very far from an agricultural drought, especially on sandy soils and when the heat and evapotranspiration rates are high.

Let’s look at rainfall data from Donalsonville, Ga.

First let’s look at 2013! It was a very wet year, no argument about that with 79 inches collected, almost 30 inches above average.  In the second chart below we look at the rainfall that occurred during the main crop use time and we see double normal rainfall from May 1 to Sept. 1. We had problems associated with too much moisture that year.

Fullscreen capture 1192015 90507 AMFullscreen capture 1192015 90629 AM

Now we will look at 2014 data. Well, we had more than average rainfall for the year, 68 inches total, when our norm is 54 inches.  So why did we have severe drought in our crops and high irrigation expenses?

The second chart below answers that question. We didn’t get the rain when it was needed. We had half the normal rainfall when summer crops needed it from May 1 to Sept 1, even though the year was a surplus rain year.

 

Fullscreen capture 1192015 90530 AM Fullscreen capture 1192015 90606 AM

 

To view weather and rainfall data like this, go to http://www.georgiaweather.net/.

 

 

 

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