After accurately predicting a teeth-chattering winter and a chilly, wet spring in many regions of the country that include Highland County, the Farmers’ Almanac is forecasting a continued wet spring and a sultry, soggy summer ahead for the Ohio Valley, much to the chagrin of local farmer Evan Davis of Leesburg.
“We are behind schedule, in fact, we’re behind the schedule we’d like to be on,” he said. “It’s not critical yet, we haven’t switched any acres between corn and beans, but we’re a good month behind from where we could’ve been potentially.”
Davis’ farm is on Woodmansee Road between Highland and New Vienna. He is a fourth-generation farmer on 2,500 acres of land that will see Century Farm status in about 20 years, with a crop of mainly corn, soybeans and wheat, and a herd of Angus cattle.
He said despite the chilly weather and persistent rains, farmers like him still have two to three weeks until a decision has to made as to switching acreage around for planting, or not planting, a certain crop due to the shortness of the growing season.
“The crop we’d like to stick with is corn,” he said. “If we get in a pinch, people can switch, but with the market and the way things are going with commodities right now, it’s not in your best interest to do that unless you absolutely have to.”
Farmers would rather plant a crop than file an insurance claim since the crop would be more profitable, he said, but depending on the weather, farmers could delay planting until early July.
“We don’t really want to wait that long unless we have to. I’d like to get mine out in the next week or two if at all possible,” Davis said. “With the way everyone’s equipped anymore, we can plant our entire crop in about a week if we get some good weather.”
According to the Farmers’ Almanac’s 202-year old weather formula, which was developed in the early 1800s and is a unique mathematical equation that takes into account sunspot activity, planetary positions and the effects of the moon on the earth, the summer of 2019 overall should see near-normal temperatures across much of the nation, but there will be some exceptions.
Peter Geiger, the almanac’s editor, told The Times-Gazette that they are predicting above normal summertime precipitation for areas east of the Mississippi River, with a stormy summer predicted for this region.
For the Great Lakes, Ohio Valley and Midwest, it is predicting the heat and humidity to build in June, anticipating that July will materialize into a stormy, hot month.
And while near-to-below normal rainfall is forecast for states west of the Mississippi River, the periodical predicts a stormy summer on tap for the Midwestern part of the country overall with some bouts of severe weather that may rumble through in July.
Analysists at the Wilmington office of the National Weather Service admit their forecast models don’t go beyond seven days, but staff meteorologist Myron Padgett confirmed that this has been the fourth wettest year on record with a total of 24.38 inches of rain as of midnight Sunday, putting this region 8.83 inches above normal.
Geiger said his publication predicts weather two years in advance and that he is sorting through the data that recently crossed his desk for the almanac’s predictions for the weather in 2021, but in the near term for the Memorial Day weekend, the Farmers’ Almanac indicated showers as colder air sweeps in from the west.
“In your area, we’re predicting frequent rain showers and a little bit of cooler air coming in from the west during that stretch of the weekend,” he said. “Then for those grillouts, the cooler air should clear the skies.”
He encouraged weather watchers and picnickers alike to judge how accurate their prediction is, since mathematicians came up with it nearly two years ago.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.