Rain and storms for Aug. 24

“Million-dollar” rains should benefit 2023 harvest

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

While much of the state has been getting fairly good rainfall in recent weeks, there have been some areas coming up short. For the week ending Aug. 20, around a quarter of the state was short to very short on topsoil and subsoil moisture according to Ben Torrance, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Intermittent rains had moved the driest parts of the state in northwest Ohio out of drought conditions and into the “Abnormally Dry” category by Aug. 22, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. The high temperatures this week were of particular concern for those driest areas, but statewide crops were definitely in need of the generous rains that fell overnight. 

Ohio rainfall totals ranged from around a quarter inch in the far southwestern part of Ohio on up to over 8 inches along Lake Erie overnight and into Aug. 24. It is a crucial time for Ohio’s corn and soybean crops, especially the later planted fields.  

“We were at critical stages on beans. A lot of beans are at R4, R5 and just filling out pods. This should take them to the end,” said Bill McDonald, Seed Consultants, Inc. agronomist. “We are anywhere from milk into the dough stage with some of this corn. A rain like this is going to add test weight to our corn too, so this is a rain that is a money maker. Our soil profile was low enough that we took a lot of that rain in. It went to good use. The creeks weren’t clear out of banks this morning, which tells me a lot of that water last night was sucked up. This is a money maker. We always raise more crops when we have sufficient water.” 

Some of Ohio’s fair boards may have a differing opinion on the rains. After being swamped by flooding, the Lorain County Fair had to close Aug. 24.

“It was not the most opportune time, but we’re going to get through it. We’ve got a lot of cleanup to do today,” said Patrick Twining, with the Lorain County Fair Board. “My rain gauge here at my farm maxes out at 6 inches and it’s overflowing. Up at the fairgrounds, I’ve heard everything from 5.5 to as much as 8 inches from a couple people locally. It’s a lot either way. We have a lot of work to do to get ready and hopefully be prepared for the rest of the week, especially with the rain we’ve still got coming.” 

While in some areas it was too much of a good thing, the Aug. 24 rains should make for better harvests this fall statewide, especially in some of the driest areas. In some of the driest parts of Ohio, rainfall totals ranged from around 1.5 inches to over 3 inches, which will be of great benefit to area corn and soybeans.

“I always say if the Auglaize County Fair, which falls the end of July, beginning of August, if we get a nice rain event there and then the Allen County Fair, which is the third week in August, and we hit a good rain there, those are the money makers,” said Ben Bowsher, Allen County farmer. “The potential is there. Spring was spread out but we got things out of the ground. We had a little dry spell, but then we started catching some rains. We got a couple right in before wheat harvest, which scared us a little bit on the wheat, but it turned out fabulous. Then after the wheat was off, we started back into a rain cycle that brought the double-crops on and here we sit.”

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