Recent rains have greened the autumn landscape
After a very dry summer, rain surprises us. Even though rainy weather is normal for November, my reaction this year is, "Look! It's raining! I'd better take a picture!"
The National Weather Service announced a couple of weeks ago that the drought has ended in the Pennyrile, our region of Kentucky. However, we remain 12 to 16 inches short of rain for the year. We need a rainy winter.
According to the NWS and the National Drought Monitor, only the southern border of Christian and Todd counties, across the Oak Grove and Trenton areas, are still under drought conditions. The drought in those areas has been downgraded to abnormally dry, the least severe categorization.
Source: "Officials declare end of drought" by Blair Dedrick, Kentucky New Era, Nov. 2, 2007
Recent rains have insured good seed germination for the winter wheat. The fresh green color of the newly sprouted wheat is good to see. The grass in some of the pastures is looking better also.
Hay for the winter remains a problem for livestock owners. The late freeze followed by drought reduced the hay harvest by half in many areas. In an effort to help, Kentucky's Department of Agriculture has a hay hotline (1-888-567-9589) where buyers and sellers can list their contact info. Weight and size restrictions have been eased for trucks hauling loads of hay.
Some farmers have baled their drought-damaged soybeans. Others have left the beans standing in the field, saying that the expense of baling is greater than the value of the fodder.
Farmers who are feeding crop residues (corn stalks, etc.) are cautioned to have them tested for nutritional value and nitrate content. High nitrates can kill livestock.
In our neighborhood, it was a good summer for the bulldozer operators. While water levels were low, many farmers took the opportunity to clean out their ponds and dig them a little deeper. New ponds have been constructed as well. Now we need a rainy winter to fill them.