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Ag Weather Update

Matt Dixon, Meteorologist, UK Ag Weather Center 

Updated June 21, 2021

Past Conditions 

Conditions ran mostly dry across the Commonwealth last week (June 14 – 20), prompting an excellent opportunity to harvest wheat, spray, cut hay, or even put some more soybeans in the ground. The Northern Bluegrass was the one exception, when on Friday night, heavy rain led to accumulations of 2 to 3+ inches. While the Bluegrass area as a whole averaged 1.06 inches last week, that number decreased to 0.00, 0.01, and 0.27 for the regions of Western, Central, and Eastern Kentucky, respectively. It was a dry week for most of the state. 

Otherwise, the focus was on temperatures and humidity. The first half of the workweek featured Canadian air filtering into the Ohio Valley behind the passage of a cold front, which led to much cooler temperatures and less humidity. In fact, highs topped out in the upper 70s to middle 80s on Tuesday. Unfortunately, temperatures did climb to end the workweek. Highs were back in the upper 80s to low 90s on Friday and the heat stuck around through the weekend. A combination of warm temperatures and elevated humidity led to the livestock heat stress index lifting into the danger category each afternoon, which will be more common over the summer months ahead. You can track heat stress for your location using your local Point Ag Forecast

Data for the Past 7 Days 


7-Day Observed Precipitation 

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Wheat harvest made significant headway last week. According to the last update of the Kentucky Crop Progress and Condition Report, 39% of Kentucky’s winter wheat crop has now been harvested. After a wet Monday, farmers will have more opportunities in the days ahead. A large area running from Western to Northeastern Kentucky received 1 to 2+ inches yesterday (image below), but this activity cleared the area last night. We'll run dry through at least Thursday. Accompanying the dry conditions will be cooler and less humid air. In fact, highs will be in the 70s on Tuesday! Normal highs for this time of year are in the mid to upper 80s.  


We will see temperatures and humidity increase a bit over the second half of the week. Rain chances return Friday and into the upcoming weekend, starting what looks like an extended period of wet weather. The map of the seven-day forecast for precipitation from the Weather Prediction Center is painting a very wet picture, with much of Kentucky expecting 1-2+ inches. 


Outlooks hint at better odds for above normal precipitation and below normal temperatures for the end of June and start of July (darker shades = higher confidence from the forecasters).  

Read the Kentucky Ag Weather Synopsis

DON'T Mess with Lightning!

I’m a big baseball fan (sorry Reds and Cardinal fans, I bleed Cubbie blue), and I came across this fascinating writeup from Pitcher struck by lightning, unconscious, stayed in. As soon as I saw the headline, I had to read it! MLB player Ray Caldwell was pitching for the Cleveland Indians in 1919. He only gave up one run all game and was on the mound with two outs in the top of the ninth inning. As the players tried to finish the game, a thunderstorm moved into the area. Unfortunately, lightning struck. There are a few theories as to how Caldwell was hit, but nonetheless, he was knocked out. Unbelievably, after five minutes, he regained consciousness and while most would definitely call it a day, Caldwell decided to finish the game! Tough is an understatement.  

Ray survived and didn’t have any lasting effects, but he was LUCKY! No one should take lightning lightly. Lightning strikes have a low probability, but they can and do happen. In the United States alone, 17 people were killed by lightning last year. No deaths have been reported in 2021, but we are now in the summer season, the most active time of the year for lightning AND the most active time of the year to be outside. While most lightning strikes don’t result in death, many victims are left with some sort of disability, according to  

Bottom line: take action when lightning and thunder are in the area! When you hear thunder, quickly get to a fully enclosed building (most barns don’t count) or hard-topped vehicle (with the windows rolled up). Stay away from taller objects. The National Weather Service graphic below provides simple guidelines. Remember, if you hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger! As the National Weather Service slogan goes, “When thunder roars, go indoors.”  


Related News from UK and Beyond

Assessing and Utilizing UK Extension Resources for Commercial Fruit Production - Nicole Gauthier, UK Plant Pathology Extension Specialist, and Kim Leonberger, UK Plant Pathology Extension Associate, June 15, 2021 

Harvest Aid in Wheat – Chad Lee and Carrie Knott, UK Extension Grain Crops Specialists, and Travis Legleiter, UK Extension Weed Specialist, June 16, 2021 


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