DROUGHT UPDATE: Dry Conditions For Farmers

After a week of little or no rain, a new drought is starting to take hold across the state.

Thursday’s report shows over 16-percent of the state is in moderate drought.

More than 70-percent is considered abnormally dry.

At one stall at the State Fair, there is five different categories – each one comes with a question in the hope to educate visitors about farming.

Audubon County farmer Randy Dreher may be asking the questions, but he’s also the one with all the answers. Dreher says, “I know most of these questions on my own just because I’m a farmer. I wouldn’t know all of them but I’d know a good chunk of them. It’s more of a reference point.”

But there’s one question Dreher asks himself everyday he can’t find the answer to in this book – what the weather will bring him. “It’s kind of hard to say you know I can’t control it and just say hey I can’t control it and I have to live with it,” says Dreher.

From frost, to floods, and now no sign of moisture at all; it’s been a year of extremes.

Climatologist Harry Hillaker says it’s better than last year, that’s not saying much. Hillaker says, “You know we’re not in the same category as 2012 or 93 or 88. But yet you know we’re not as good as most of the other what you might say more average years either at that point.”

Our current cool temps do help soil hold in more moisture, but on the other hand Dreher says, “We need heat units to progress that crop along so it’s harvestable and it reaches a maturity before we see our first frost. So it’s kind of a double edged sword.”

Working with weather, he wishes he had a better reference point like his trusty cheat sheet.

But if he answers the question wrong like many who visit him Thursday, he hopes Mother Nature will be as forgiving as he is.

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