Will recent rains be enough for area farmers to guarantee a healthy harvest this fall? The question is one many are still asking after Mother Nature dropped anywhere from half inch to more than three inches of precipitation across the county this past weekend.
The U.S. Drought Watch late last week labeled 43.69% of Moody County as “abnormally dry” and showed another 13.14% of the county in a moderate drought.
Joe Knippling, Executive Director of the Farm Service Agency in Flandreau, stated that in the county seat of Flandreau, the city and surrounding areas had less than a ¼ inch of rain so far in August. Typically, by the second week of the month, the area would have seen 3.5 inches of rain. July was down by over 3 inches, so was June.
“I don’t want to be a pessimist but yields are going down as the days go by,” he said, especially in areas with sandy soil. ”We need a good rain this weekend to stop the downfall of the crop. It looks better than what it should…It’s hanging on but it’s suffering every day now.”
Knippling said that the current economic challenges combined with high gas prices and other commodities in addition to this are likely putting tremendous strain on local families. “There’s crop insurance for real low yields, but insurance doesn’t cover all of the expenses that you’ve got into a crop.”
As high heat and dry weather once again return to the forecast this week, “Pray for rain,” Knippling said.