Recent rain can’t replenish dry soil

By Rasmieyh Abdelnabi

the last couple of weeks, DeKalb County still is enduring a severe drought, according to experts.

“Early reports of the harvest produced better than expected results,” said DeKalb County Farm Bureau manager Doug Dashner.

The farm bureau expected a 30 percent decrease and reports showed a 10 to 15 percent decrease in production, he said.

These numbers are from early reports and conditions are highly variable all over the county, Dashner said.

He said the exact number of production won’t be known until November.

Conditions for farmers may be slightly better, but DeKalb needs replenishing.

“We need as much rain and as much snow as we can get,” said Gilbert Sebenste, NIU meteorologist.

About 88 inches of snow is needed to compensate for the drought, he said.

DeKalb’s average snowfall is nowhere near 88 inches.

The area affected by the drought has decreased in Illinois. Cities in the south, such as Champaign, are no longer affected by the drought. However, the area 75 miles northwest and southeast of a line between Burlington, Iowa and Grand Rapids, Mich. is still under a severe drought, Sebenste said.

DeKalb is located in the middle of the affected area, he said.

Sunday evening’s rain did little to alleviate the situation because it only brought .18 inches, Sebenste said.

DeKalb is short eight inches of rain this year.

Conditions have improved due to the rain falls of August and September, Dashner said.

State Climatologist Jim Angel said DeKalb receives about 35 inches of snow in the winter which melts into three to four inches of water.

Angel said DeKalb’s rain fall was 16 percent below normal in September.

The normal rain fall for September is 3.47 inches, DeKalb received 1.53 inches. Statewide, rain fall in September was 23 percent above average.

However, the top six to eight inches of soil received a lot of rain in the last couple of weeks.

“It makes it at least look better,” he said. But it is a short-term solution because deeper soil needs moisture.

As winter approaches the demands on the water supply tend to decrease.

The demand on water supplies is less because the weather is cooler and not many crops are growing so it is a good time to catch up, Angel said. If DeKalb does not recover from the drought water supplies for next year’s planting season will be a major concern.