By Herb Meeker
News Report Staff
Yes, it’s been a wet June. But how wet?
The rainfall for the Effingham County weather observer totaled 8.26 inches through June 27, based on figures confirmed by National Weather Service meteorologist Zach Hiris on Friday. The observer lives three miles southwest of Effingham.
Most of that total came down at a drenching rate in two days last month — 2 inches on June 11 and 3.86 inches on June 12. But rainfall was pretty steady throughout the month for the county, said Hiris, who works at the Lincoln National Weather Service center.
“The Effingham County station recorded precipitation on 15 of 27 days in June. But there were only two days with one inch or more of rainfall,” the meteorologist said.
Not surprisingly, June went out wet Sunday night with a heavy rainfall that eventually accumulated an inch or more in rain gauges.
June proved a wet month across much of Illinois, especially in the north. Hiris noted Rockford had received 14 inches up to the last weekend of June.
“There was not as much rain for us downstate as in northern Illinois,” he said.
Statewide, the average rainfall for June has been 4.09 inches over several years. Obviously, that total has been surpassed, but he could not cite the June 2018 totals as a record for the state.
The constant rain might have dampened some ballgames and family cookouts, but farmers are encouraged by the abundance of moisture at a critical time for crop growth.
“Most corn is tasseling. We’re approaching the time when there is the highest demand for water in the fields. And it is unlikely we’ll run out of soil moisture reserves before pollination,” said Talon Becker, a commercial agriculture educator with the University of Illinois Extension Service.
Becker said an inch of rain every few days is welcomed during this part of the growing season for corn. It helps with grain development.
But heavy rainfall, even in June, can produce setbacks with standing water in less porous soil. This can lead to underdeveloped root systems or a greater risk of plant diseases, Becker said.
These could tamper with crop yields down the road for both corn and soybeans. The steady rainfall also slowed down the wheat harvest in some counties, he said. Still, a recent survey of wheat fields in the south part of the state showed only slight effects on wheat yields for the most part – no more than 2 bushels per acre.
“The wheat yield estimate is higher from last year,” Becker said.
Another advantage from this year’s wet season is temperatures have not dropped considerably.
“One thing on the up side of this season is we’ve been fairly high on temperatures,” Becker said.
But the recent days with heat readings over 100 degrees could hurt the crops in the long run. Farmers are hoping the “steam bath” days don’t dominate the calendar in July.
So June helped put local farmers ahead in the game. Now, they hope Mother Nature doesn’t pull some twists and turns that could cut back on yields when the season ends.