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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Drought worries lie beneath the surface

  • Rain is still needed.
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  • Rain is still needed.
    McPherson has received 14.77 inches of precipitation so far in 2013, which puts the region close to average for the year. It does not, however, make up for the more than 12 inches less than average the area received in 2012. While top layers of ground may appear moist, its the levels beneath that have agricultural producers worried.
    As of Sunday, topsoil moisture supplies in McPherson’s central region were 7 percent very short, 27 percent short, 64 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture was at 17 percent very short, 38 percent short and 45 percent adequate, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
    “We’ve been very blessed to be getting (rain) better than last year,” said Jonie James, McPherson County agricultural agent. “We’re not going backward. We’re not going further in the drought, we’re managing our own and that’s a good thing.
    “But if we see another dry period, we can see the drought conditions come back really fast. We need to keep getting rain every week to start replenishing that subsoil profile.”
    McPherson County is drier than this time last year, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. The monitor uses a five-point scale that describes regions as abnormally, moderately, severely, extremely and exceptionally dry.
    On June 12, 2012, the monitor showed McPherson County was moderately dry. The state ranged from abnormally dry to severely dry.
    As of June 11, 2013, the northern half of McPherson County was declared moderately dry, while the southern half was ranked severely dry. The range varies greatly throughout the state — some northeast and eastern counties have no drought declaration at all, while the Western fourth of the state is in exceptional drought.
    “I don't think we can safely say we’ve busted the drought, but we’ll just have to see what the summer brings,” said Larry Goertzen, Mid Kansas Coop grain coordinator. “Last year, we had some spring rains, and it all dried up in the summer, but we’re hoping this year it goes back to normal.”
    Contact Jenae Pauls at jpauls@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow her on Twitter @PaulsSentinel.

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