There’s Nothing Like a Rain to Screw Up a Perfectly Good Drought

Published on: 16:18PM Oct 24, 2008
Vance Ehmke

Well, wouldn’t you know it? After suffering all summer long in what was destined to be the second driest year in the 35 years that I’ve been farming, it finally rains. My hopes for setting new drought records have been dashed by record-breaking rainfall in October.

Not only have we had the wettest October in recorded history, but our annual rainfall is now just shy of being normal. With a little luck and another rain or two, we could beat average—and 2008 would go down in the record books as a wet year!

Good grief! How can our milo look this bad in a wet year?

The problem obviously isn’t October or the 4.3 inches of rain that we’ve gotten so far this month. It was what didn’t happen back in June, for instance, when we got a scant l.l5 inches of precip—or just a third of normal. In July, we got two-thirds of normal. And what about the August from hell—when we got a total of .6 inches of rain.

And if the milo didn’t look bad enough from the effects of the drought, it was only fitting that with one of the big rains we got in October, we got severe hail driven by 80 mph winds. The plants were just shredded.

But let’s look at the bright side. It’s not like the milo was worth the $7 a bushel we could have sold it for earlier. Today it’s only worth $2.90/bu. And, the price keeps dropping! Between the drought and the hail, our losses really weren’t all that bad.

And as far as setting drought records, well, there’s always next year.

And finally, your words of wisdom for the day: Never park your equipment in a low spot. It may rain.