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Wet spring adds stress, uncertainty to planting season

By David Knopf, News Editor

The official rain gauge for Ray County recorded 7.54 inches in May – not including what fell after 7 a.m. Friday. Jarrell Foreman checks the gauge daily when any form of precipitation falls and reports the totals to CoCoRaHS, the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network.
(You can see how the totals from the reporting station in Richmond compare to other counties by going to www.cocorahs.org and clicking on Missouri and then Ray on the large map.)
As accurate as the gauge is for the Wollard Boulevard site where Foreman is director of USDA’s Farm Service Agency for Ray and Clay counties, totals elsewhere in the county can vary widely.
“Who’s to say, you go a mile north or a mile south and you could get 2 inches more,” said Foreman, who reported 1.96 inches falling from 7 a.m. May 29 to 7 a.m. May 30.
In an agricultural county used to almost annual weather extremes, the wet spring is making life harder and less predictable for farmers.
After a day of heavy rain, water was collecting Friday morning in fields, especially those adjacent to Fishing River, Crooked River and creeks that feed them.
Fishing River was at or just below flood level near Orrick, even before runoff collected in the north, from Smithville to Kearney to Mosby, had time to reach Ray County.
“What a lot of people don’t understand about Fishing River is that it starts up near Smithville, 50 miles away,” Ray County Western Commissioner Mike Twyman, an Orrick farmer, said. “It can take several hours because it has to pass through Mosby and everything.”
The good news as far as Twyman is concerned is the performance of the improvements to Keeney Creek, which frequently overtopped and flooded fields and homes in Orrick.

The complete story is in the June 3, 2013 edition of the Richmond News.

Click here for our E-edition and read the rest of the story.

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