Give thanks for 15 billion gallons

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Extension Notes Agriculture and Natural Resources

By Steve Moore

We just celebrated the Thanksgiving season, and I’ve heard many folks talking about the good visits they had with family and friends.  Personally, that’s what I’m most thankful for.  Here in Henry County, we were thankful for the abundant rains which fell last Wednesday and Thursday.  More on that rain in a moment.

Farming in Henry County saw a fairly wet spring and summer, and then a severe drought which started about the end of July.  Most farmers report good hay yields, a tobacco crop that went into the barn in good shape, and those that deal with soybeans and corn were satisfied with both yield and prices.  Late hay and pasture was severely reduced, and some of the tobacco dried quickly and sported a brighter, higher color that the ‘company’ says is ‘undesirable.’  Hopefully the market which begins this week will give us more to be thankful for.  While farmers are feeding hay supplies much earlier, most report that with some management of the herd and the feeding process itself, they will likely go through the winter okay.  What was worrying some more was the lack of water available for livestock in streams and ponds.  While too late to make much difference in the forage growth department, the rains really helped solve the livestock water problem.

Back to the rain – just how much did we get in Henry County?  Reporters observed from a low in Eminence of 2.31 inches to a high near Turners Station of 4.07.  Another reporter in Eminence had 2.95, one in Pleasureville had 3”, one in New Castle had 3.72”, and one in Campbellsburg had 3.8”. These reporters make a daily observation in a program called the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow network.   You can find these daily reports at www.cocorahs.org/, click on ‘view data’ and select Station Summary Report for Henry County.  You will be able to find nearly any period of days you select (i.e., for the data I used above, I selected Nov. 23-28.  We still need an observer in the Pendleton, Smithfield and Sulphur areas to create the most useful tool this Cocorahs system can be.

With the reports listed here, I can estimate that Henry County received an average of at least three inches of rain over the Thanksgiving holiday period.  One inch of rain on one acre of ground is just over 27,000 gallons of water.  Multiplying 186,000 acres of land in the county by 27,000 gallons per inch of rain, by three inches, we got a whopping 15 billion gallons of much needed water for Thanksgiving.  We indeed have much to be thankful for!