Stories about the weather in northern Illinois
Hello from soggy central Illinois. The rain keeps coming, the grass keeps growing and I can’t get my wheat combined. The dry hay I’d made on the summer pasture finally got put inside the barn in between rain events.
Water is central to our lives. We pray for rain in droughts and talk about “showers of blessings.” But on the other hand, too much rain can be devastating. Farmers in Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana are seeing just how destructive all that moisture can be.
The warmest decade on record was in the years 2011 to 2020. The warmest six years have all been since 2015 with 2016, 2019 and 2020 being the top three for hot and dry. And the hottest June for the North American continent was the June that just ended.
On the farm, the “to-do” list never seems to end and only grows when the weather doesn’t cooperate. For my family, we found a small window when it was dry enough to wean calves a few weeks ago, and it has rained off and on since, delaying other much-needed work.
About eight inches of rain soaked the Kindred family farm over four days and Ron and Jay were preparing for mowing on Monday morning, June 28.
Ben DuVal knelt in a barren field near the California-Oregon state line and scooped up a handful of parched soil as dust devils whirled around him and birds flitted between empty irrigation pipes.
June’s dry weather has impacted Minnesota’s pastures and may soon force cattle farmer to make tough decisions before they run out of grass.
Nature is a tough business partner. Just ask any farmer or rancher. That truth is hitting hard for our friends out West this year where they are experiencing extreme drought conditions from California all the way to North Dakota.
June in Illinois started out particularly warm and ended with above-average rainfall from numerous storms, according to Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey.
I have a love/hate relationship with hay season on our farm. The goal of course is to harvest at a time when the grasses and/or legumes are at just the right stage of maturity.