Chesterton Tribune


Indiana cropland in good shape following 2012 drought

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - Plentiful January rains have left Indiana’s farmland in good shape for crops following last summer’s record heat and drought, the state’s climatologist said.

Purdue University-based state climatologist Dev Niyogi said a warm and wet start to Indiana’s planting season is forecast before drier conditions arrive during the growing season. Parts of Indiana could see mild to moderate drought conditions later in the growing season, he said.

Assistant state climatologist Ken Scheeringa told the Journal & Courier that mild to moderate droughts are not unusual at some point in Indiana during the hottest summer months.

He said this winter has been wetter in Indiana than last year and a repeat drought is a long shot.

Scheeringa said the extreme drought and 100-degree readings that Indiana and other parts of the Midwest saw last summer occur only two or three times every century and back-to-back droughts are a rarity.

“We’re not going to have that this year,” Scheeringa said. “We had some dandy rains in January.”

Long-range forecasts are only accurate about three months out, so it’s hard to say for sure what this summer might bring to Indiana, he said.

Scheeringa said a wet spring could sustain Indiana’s farmers through the summer and into the fall harvest by recharging soils with moisture.

The U.S. Drought Monitor shows that most of the Great Plains region remains in drought conditions. The only portion of Indiana close to drought conditions is the state’s far northern counties, which are listed as abnormally dry.



Posted 3/1/2013