With the amount of rainfall that has pattered down to the Kankakee Valley, many people are wondering whether we’ve received too much rain for crops or if it’s the ideal conditions for crops to thrive. According to John Lawson, the county executive director for the Farm Service Agency, the amount of rain we’ve received seems to be just right.
He said the sandy soils in Starke County and the surrounding area have been soaking up the excess rains, making for significantly better conditions than last year when the county suffered from drought. While there are some wet pockets in a few fields that are drowning out a few acres, Lawson said overall the rain has been beneficial.
“I think the rainfall we’ve received so far is very, very good for the crops this year. We came into the season dry; we were worried about another drought on top of the drought from last year, and with very little snowfall effects that would replenish the moisture, we’re seeing the effects of good rainfall that crops really, really need,” said Lawson.
Lawson said this year’s conditions compared to those of last year are almost completely opposite; last year we were suffering from extremely dry sandy soils, with almost no moisture in the subsoil or topsoil, stunting crops. This year, however, the area has been pretty thoroughly saturated.
“We would like to see some sun and some heat to make them grow, but it’s so much better to have this than what we did last year in the drought. The wheat, which very little wheat we have, is doing very well, it’s getting ready to harvest. The alfalfa, the hay, the pastures are just doing great with all the rains, and the corn and the beans at this point they’re really doing well,” said Lawson.
He said it would take about four or five straight weeks without any rain before the crops would begin suffering from dry conditions, and with no major issues regarding insect damage, crops are looking good this season.