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Ag Weather Update

Matt Dixon, Meteorologist

UK Ag Weather Center

Updated 6-13-23 at 6PM EDT

Some hit the rain, while others didn't

Happy Tuesday, folks! Highs today have only risen into the 70s with low humidity in place. Many of us even woke up to lows in the 40s this morning! Combined with mostly sunny skies and it's hard to ask for a much better day. Saying that, for many of us across Kentucky, we still need some rain!

The Bluegrass State saw a couple rounds this past week, one on Wednesday (6/7) and the other on Sunday (6/11). Some got the help they needed, while others missed out. Below is a look at total accumulations across the two events. Totals were highest across the eastern half of Kentucky, especially-so throughout the southeast, where many saw 1-3+ inches.

On the other side of the spectrum; while Western and West-Central KY saw rainfall, it wasn't nearly enough. A large portion of this area stayed under a half inch. Anything helps, but this was ultimately a third straight week of below normal rainfall for Western KY. On average, W-KY has only averaged 0.53 inches over the past 3 weeks, which is over 2.5 inches below normal! One of the more significant dry spots has been in Trigg County, where the local Mesonet station in Cadiz saw 21 straight days of dry conditions between May 21st and June 10th. Making matters worse, this station only recorded 0.09 inches on Sunday!

Bottom line, while some got the help they needed, others still have big time deficits to make up. Ahead of Sunday's rainfall, the latest update of the U.S. Drought Monitor was released on Thursday (6/8). Across the Midwest region, the areal coverage of moderate drought more than doubled from the previous week (maps below). Part of that rise can be attributed to KY, where much of the Bluegrass and Lake Cumberland Region was pushed into the moderate drought category. Luckily though, this area was a beneficiary of the rain this past week and will likely see some improvement on the map in the next update (due to come out on 6/15).

Look for the western half of KY to go in the other direction. I'm hearing more and more reports of corn rolling and starting to get that "pineapple" look. Dr. Lee, UK Extension Grain Crops Specialist, explains here, that yield losses are likely minimal at this stage in development, but other issues could arise.

Pastures and hay fields have also been on the downhill trajectory across Western KY and definitely need some moisture. Dr. Chris Teutsch, UK Extension Forage Specialist, released some tips here on managing pastures during dry times in the long-term and short-term. I like his last suggestion; "It never hurts to ask the Good Lord for a little rain!"

Looking at the forecast ahead, most of the state will remain dry through the workweek. One exception comes this evening/tonight as NE KY gets brushed with some light showers. Isolated chances will be in play Wednesday and Thursday, but again, most look to remain dry. Better chances arrive over the weekend as an area of low pressure takes aim at the region. Below is a look at the 7-day forecast rain totals. Most of this activity is forecast to fall on Sunday and Monday, quite a ways out. We'll see how this evolves...

Looking at temperatures, warmer air starts ushering back into the region tomorrow (6/14) with highs in the upper 70s to middle 80s. Most are then in the mid to upper 80s by Thursday and Western KY is even pushing into the low 90s on Friday. Clouds and showers then take us a notch lower over the weekend. Humidity will remain comfortable through Friday for just about everyone. That changes over the weekend as dewpoints start creeping closer to 70 across Western KY. It was only a matter of time.....

Looking at the outlooks, the worst of the summer heat looks to stay west of Kentucky next week. Slightly better odds exists for above normal precipitation, but at this point, nothing to write home about. In the end, let's hope the rain above verifies this weekend!

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Related News from UK and Beyond

Kentucky Crop Progress and Condition Report - USDA NASS Kentucky Field Office, May 22, 2023

Drought conditions hampering corn growth, stressing pastures - Aimee Nielson with UK Ag Communications, June 7, 2023

Kentucky Forage News - June 7, 2023

Kentucky Beef Cattle Newsletter "Off the Hoof" - Beef IRM Team, June 5, 2023

How concerned should you be when corn leaves roll? - Tom Bechman with Farm Progress, June 13, 2023

Kentucky Winter Wheat Production Forecast up 12% from 2022 - USDA, NASS, Kentucky Field Office, June 9 , 2023

Assessing the U.S. Climate in May 2023 - National Centers for Environmental Information, June 8, 2023

A Smoky May for North America - NASA Earth Observatory


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