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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Rain bolsters ag optimism

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The area-wide rainfall from Tuesday night helped to replenish the soil moisture that has been in short supply due to the extended drought conditions and also helped to fill area ponds lakes and sent water over the spill way at Walton lake for the first time in many weeks. Photo by Ralph Pokorny/Daily Mail
The steady rainstorm that began sloshing Vernon County and Southwest Missouri early Tuesday and continued until after midnight Wednesday will not break the drought that had tormented the region for months on end, but it replenished livestock watering ponds and gave the rapidly maturing winter wheat crop a boost, agricultural officials said Wednesday.

Travis Claypool, the Farm Service Agency's county executive director, said the precipitation "helped some, putting moisture back into the sub-soil and definitely the top-soil.

"As dry as we were, any moisture will help in the future, but we need to keep getting it. We were running a pretty good deficit for the four months prior to that rain yesterday."

Claypool reported that the thunderstorm put Nevada above its 30-year average for the month of January, which is 1.8 inches, by adding to a recent quarter-inch rain and a couple of lighter showers and reaching 3.36 inches with two days left in the month. "It was almost a two-day event," he said.

"We had 2.76 at this office."

University of Missouri Extension Agronomy Specialist Pat Miller said the rainfall came too early in the year to help farmers' planting of corn and soybeans this spring, but it will be a big benefit to the winter wheat and stock ponds. "It's wonderful," Miller said.

"It won't fill up the ponds, but it's a start. We got enough for runoff and some soaked in good, too. The corn and soybeans are a ways off yet, but it will sure help the wheat.

"A lot of cattle had been moved to other pastures and it may open some back up where the ponds had gone dry. There's not much grass to graze this time of year, anyway."

National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Griffin of Springfield told the Daily Mail that the storm developed when moisture from the Gulf of Mexico combined with a Canadian cold front. "It was the right mechanism to give us a nice round of showers and thunderstorms, a nice, soaking rain," said Griffin.

He reported 2 inches in Nevada, 3 in northwest and southeast Vernon County, "upwards of 4" in Springfield, 2 at Bolivar, two to three at Lamar, 2 1/2 at El Dorado Springs, fewer than 2 at Joplin, 3 at Butler and Harrisonville and 2 at Warrensburg. "It should temporarily fill up the rivers and stock ponds," he said.

"They have definitely got some water in them now. We need several more rounds like this to catch up. If we get one of these every week or two throughout the spring, we'll be doing good."

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