June threatening record for most rainy days in month

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

If youíre starting to feel soggy, itís not surprising.

This month is poised to meet or beat the record for most rainy days in June, according to Gazette records.

As of Wednesday, the Janesville area had soaked up 17 rainy days this month.

June 1969 takes the prize for the highest number of rainy days. It rained 20 days that month.

It only rained one day in June 1988.

As of Wednesday, the number of rainy days is tied with June 2008óthe summer carp swam on Main Street in downtown Janesville. It rained 17 days that year, too.

However, those 17 days in 2008 produced 8.08 inches of rain, according to Gazette records. That was the third-wettest June on record.

So far, 5.13 inches of rain have fallen on Rock County this month.

The average number of inches is 4.1, according to Gazette records.

Jim Stute, UW Extension crops and soils agent, said the above-average rainfall is starting to affect local farm fields.

ďItís highly variable,Ē Stute said. ďItís been a lot wetter in the northern half of the county. From what Iíve heard, on Monday people recorded anywhere from 2.5 inches to 0.4 inches. Itís been enough that itís starting to hamper things now.Ē

In the northern half of the county, the ground is so saturated that rain ran off the soil during Mondayís storm, Stute said.

ďA lot of that water ran off where there were slopes,Ē he said. ďWeíre not using the water, so itís not helping crops.Ē

In some places, the rain actually is damaging crops, he said.

ďThe soil is so wet it canít physically anchor plants,Ē Stute said. ďI saw some fields where they were falling over. Itís called lodging, and itís going to be a problem if we keep getting these storms with the wind.Ē

The rain has prevented farmers from spraying pesticides or herbicides on soybeans as well as fertilizing field corn, Stute said.

Itís also gotten in the way of timely alfalfa harvest, he said.

Alfalfa produces three or four crops in one season. Locally, farmers mowed the first crop early because of the warm, dry spring.

That means the second crop is ready to go and starting to flower. If the alfalfa flowers, the quality of the hay is reduced, Stute said.

Mowing hay for cattle feed is a multi-day process. Not only does the field have to be dry enough to support heavy equipment, it must be dry enough to allow the hay to cure, Stute said.

Wet hay can be very poor quality and can even cause barn fires.

The rain isnít the only thing causing problems, Stute said.

On Monday, a band of hail fell in a large swath just north of Milton from County H in Fulton Township to Vickerman Road in Lima Township, he said.

The band roughly followed an east-west path centered on Pomeroy Road and County N, he said.

Up to 1,000 acres of corn and soybeans were damaged by the hail, Stute said.

Itís hard to tell how badly the corn was damaged, but many soybean fields will be completely lost, he said.

Last updated: 2:00 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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