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Lack of rain is growing crisis

Drought conditions continue to prevail in Grady County.
Agriculture Extension Agent Don Clark is estimating that nearly 80 percent of the cropland in the county is now in severe drought.
The reason it happened so quickly, he says, is that from Aug. 1 to April 1, “we only had two rain events that were over an inch. The rest of them were less than a half-inch,” noting a lot of two and three tenths inch rains.
According to Clark, Grady County farmers in the northern part of the county received scattered rain of only about six tenths of an inch last Friday.
He says a big factor contributing to crop stress is the lack of subsoil moisture. “Basically, we were starting out the spring planting season with no subsoil moisture at all,” explained Clark. “We don’t have anything to draw from. When we do get a rain, the moisture goes away real fast.”
The county extension agent says the only chance for rain this week would be a thundershower that might pop up because of the heat. But no rain is in the immediate forecast.
Clark contends the lack of rain becomes more significant depending on the stage of the crop. “We have some corn that is tasseling right now, but another 10 days (without rain) the yield will be severely cut on that corn.” He is concerned that the remaining 20 percent is only a few days away from drought.
“Because even where they got that six tenths of an inch (of rain), it won’t last long because the subsoil will just suck it up like a sponge. There’s no moisture down deep,” reports Clark.

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