Farmer: Drought conditions extreme; rain needed

By Marisela Burgos - bio | email

BAGDAD, KY (WAVE) - Farmers across Kentuckiana are crossing their fingers for more rain. WAVE 3 Meteorologist Andy Weingarten predicts rain will be in our forecast primarily Monday and Tuesday morning, but expects it to rain more in Kentucky than in Indiana.

Many farmers have been on edge because of the dry conditions. Gov. Steve Beshear has requested Disaster Assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a total of 55 counties in the Commonwealth.

Shelby County Farmer Doug Langley says he noticed distinct differences between this year's crop and last year's. He says his corn is normally taller and wider but added this year's corn is close to normal.

"We were real fortunate in this area," Langley said. "We're in extreme drought now, but most of our crops were mature or close to maturity when the drought hit."

Langley says he has friends who farm in Southern and Western Kentucky that have been dramatically effected by the drought.

"If the same dry weather would have hit here in late May [or] early June, we would have been in the same situation," Langley predicted.

But Langley pointed out the drought has had its impact on his crop. Langley is harvesting corn nearly a month and a half earlier than usual.

"Our crops could have been a little better - we always want more," Langley said. "But we're still above average."

Besides corn, Langley harvests soybeans and tobacco. For him, like many other farmers, tobacco is hurting.

"We had good, quality tobacco going in, but all this dry weather has just dried up too quickly in the barn," he said.

Langley hopes companies will buy all he has to offer, but knows his tobacco will more than likely be sold at a lesser price. He says he does not have to worry about planting soybeans or corn again until spring.

Langley plans to keep an eye out to determine whether he is going to plant his wheat crop in the fall. If it does not rain, he said it isn't worth it. But, until then, he hopes to see rain drops across Kentuckiana - soon.

"The drought is really severe right now and it's really dangerous harvesting with the field fires and the threat of that, but it'll rain soon," Langley said. "It always has."

To put it in perspective, in 2009 Louisville had almost 27 inches of rain from June through September, compared with only 12 inches this year.

Last year Louisville got almost six inches of rain in September alone, compared to .12 inches of rain this year.

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