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Angie Peltier


Angie Peltier
Former Extension Educator, Commercial Agriculture



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Hill and Furrow

Current topics about crop production in Western Illinois, including field crops research at the NWIARDC in Monmouth.
Figure. Photo of a October 12, 2015 fire across the highway from the NWIARDC (credit: Brian Mansfield).
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Dry times: August and September 2015 Weather Summary


Precipitation. August precipitation at the Northwestern Illinois Agricultural Research and Demonstration Center (NWIARDC) totaled 3.47 inches, 1 inch less than the 30-year "normal" for the month (Table). September precipitation totaled 2.81 inches, nearly 1 inch more than the 30-year normal for the month. The NWIARDC is located a little more than 4 miles West of where the City of Monmouth's weather data is currently collected.To put these two months into perspective, we can look to the City of Monmouth's 122-year dataset: August was ranked 77th driest and September was ranked 39th driest on record.

2015 PRECIPITATION (in inches)




Since January 1

Month

Monthly Total

Monthly departure from average

Total accumulation

Total departure

January

1.32

-0.20

1.32

-0.20

February

1.28

-0.26

2.60

-0.46

March

0.83

-1.70

3.43

-2.16

April

1.21

-2.67

4.64

-4.83

May

4.76

+0.01

9.40

-4.82

June

8.13

+3.64

17.53

-1.18

July

9.04

+4.93

26.57

+3.75

August

3.47

-1.00

30.04

+2.75

September

2.81

-0.93

33.21

+1.82

Why is it so darn dry? With the near double the "normal" rainfall that we received in June (8.13 in) and July (9.04 in), and only about an inch less than "normal" rainfall in in August and September, why is it SO DARNED DRY? Illinois State Climatologist Dr. Jim Angel blames it on the very warm temperatures, low relative humidity, high wind speeds and sunshine.

This is borne out by the September weather data: the daily average low relative humidity was 10 percentage points lower this year than in 2014 and daily average air temperatures this year were 7.4 degrees higher than in 2014.

Soil moisture levels are also very low. At a 4 inch depth, soils at the NWIARDC approached and surpassed field capacity (the amount of water that a soil can hold before draining) in 2014, while in 2015, the soil moisture levels are approaching the wilting point (soil so dry that plants wilt as they are unable to extract water) (Figure).

The dry weather has also increased fire risk, and numerous brush and residue fires have occurres throughout in the area. One such fire occurred across the highway from the NWIARDC's southern-most 80 acres on October 12 (Figures). The NWIARDC's Brian Mansfield and Marty Johnson scrambled to bury some of the corn residue nearest to the fire in an effort to protect a research study in the event that the fire jumped across the highway.

Temperature. The average daily high temperatures at the NWIARDC were a little above the 30-year "normal" for both August (+3 degrees) and September (+6 degrees), while average daily low temperatures were a little bit higher than normal in September (+6 degrees).

August 2015 WEATHER

Soil Temperature

Air Temp

2" (Bare)

4" (Bare)

4" (Sod)

(°F)

Growing Degree Days

-------------------(°F)--------------------

Monthly average high

81

Monthly total: 627

90

85

78

Monthly average low

60

71

65

72

Observed high (date)

88 (2)

26 (16)

100 (3,6,15)

99 (3)

83 (3)

Observed low (date)

48 (25,26)

10 (20)

63 (20,23)

55 (20)

67 (26)

September 2015 WEATHER

Soil Temperature

Air Temp

2" (Bare)

4" (Bare)

4" (Sod)

(°F)

Growing Degree Days

-------------------(°F)--------------------

Monthly average high

82

Monthly total: 609

86

*

73

Monthly average low

58

67

*

69

Observed high (date)

92 (4,6)

28 (12,13,16)

96 (4)

*

80 (4,7)

Observed low (date)

43 (13,20)

8.5 (13)

55 (13,23)

*

62 (30)

* Missing data on six of 30 days.

References.

NWIARDC data: Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring Program. Illinois Climate Network. (2015). Illinois State Water Survey, 2204 Griffith Drive, Champaign, IL 61820-7495.

City of Monmouth historical weather data: Midwest Regional Climate Center cli-MATE Application Tools Environment.



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