By JIM LANGHAM • Feature writer
The first glimpse for harvest weather this fall is looking slightly cooler and a little wetter than normal, says weather specialist Rick McCoy of Van Wert. McCoy said that while we are still several weeks away from harvest, there are no indicators that the trend prevalent through the summer is going to change drastically.
“There is some indication that things could warm up, at least briefly, for the last part of August,” said McCoy.
“The extended forecast into that period is calling for slightly above normal warming in the Midwest but still precipitation a little over normal.
“With temperatures running three to five degrees below normal in July, the summer is more than likely going to end up slightly below normal which is what the National Weather Service had predicted early in the spring,” said McCoy.
This past Monday, a major burst of precipitation moved through the county, dumping one to two inches of rain in many areas, with the heaviest precipitation early on falling in the northern parts of the county.
That was good, said Ohio State University extension agent Sarah Noggle, since that area had been a little drier than areas to the south.
“The condition of county crops is all over the board right now, although most are looking good or improving,” commented Noggle.
“Everyone seems to be picking up on the possibility of some wetness during harvest.
“We need to look at the economics of our crop this year,” continued Noggle.
“As for Monday’s rain, it’s good where it fell. That end of the county needed it. The consistent moisture that we’ve been receiving will help with the gooseneck and lodging problems that we had talked about a couple of weeks ago.”
In spite of the anticipation of cooler weather during harvest, McCoy said the freeze risk for the first freeze looks like about normal as wetter soils will keep night time lows up some.
McCoy noted that while many people believe that hot nights contribute to better corn, it appears that just the opposite could be true. He said that information he recently received states that corn actually has better yields in moderate temperatures, as long as there is sufficient moisture.
McCoy said that recent testing indicates that with high night temperatures, more of the sugars produced by photosynthesis during the day is lost; less is available to fill developing kernels, thus lowering the yield.
“One of the most common questions I am already being asked is, ‘what kind of winter do you think we’re going to have this year,’” said McCoy.
McCoy said that he daily confers with National Weather Service officials at Syracuse, Ind. and the consensus continues to be the same. If there is development of an El Nino, this winter could be quite different than last year. If there is no El Nino, the pattern is still quite similar to last winter.
“Early this spring, it looked like an El Nino was trying to form in the Pacific, but it has never really gotten its act together so far,” McCoy said.
“If there is an El Nino, our winters tend to be a little warmer and wetter,” said McCoy. “A lot of the main storms tend to go south of us, so things around here are usually less stormy.”