Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Drought Raises Doubts ; Lack of Rainfall Has Tri-State's Corn, Soybean Crops, Lawns on Life Support

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Drought Raises Doubts ; Lack of Rainfall Has Tri-State's Corn, Soybean Crops, Lawns on Life Support

Article excerpt

Officially, 0.04 inches of rain fell at the Evansville Regional Airport on Sunday morning - certainly not enough to rescue the region from the current drought Mother Nature has cast on the region lately. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, much of Southwestern Indiana - and parts of Western Kentucky, Southern Illinois and southeastern Missouri are experiencing "severe drought conditions."

Updated maps from the agency are released each Thursday. Previously, in Southwestern Indiana, only Posey County and part of Vanderburgh County were designated as severe areas.

Now that classification includes all of Gibson County, most of Pike County and parts of Warrick County as well.

In June, there has been a total of 0.15 inches of rain in Evansville, according to the National Weather Service - even with Sunday's minuscule amount added for the month. For a month that normally sees more than four inches of rain, that's cause for concern, especially because the next few months traditionally are when dry conditions strike.

But if it doesn't rain soon, said Jon Neufelder of the Posey County Purdue University Extension Office, farmers will lose their crops - especially corn - regardless of what happens weather-wise in July and August.

"You hate to start doom-and-glooming so early in the season... but if it gets hot and stays hot and dry, it's not going to bode well for our corn crop," Neufelder said.

Even before June's scarce rainfall, it already had been a dry period for farmers. Though a mild winter allowed for corn to be planted earlier than normal, May's official rainfall total of 2.29 inches was more than 3 inches below the normal amount, according to the National Weather Service.

"The early planted corn, right now, does look the best because it was able to establish a pretty good root system before it turned hot and dry," Neufelder said. …

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