Ag and Weather 2011
Ron Meyer, Area
Extension Agent - Golden Plains Area
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Weather again varied tremendously during 2011 across the Golden Plains Area. While areas north of I-70 enjoyed better-than-normal precipitation, areas south of Interstate 70 experienced some of the driest conditions in recent history. Precipitation measured from Burlington 3, a Colorado State University Extension weather station located on the Coryell farm 4 miles NE of Burlington, recorded below normal rainfall from the months of January, February, March, April, June, August, September, October, November, and December. Only May and July, two critical months in High Plains crop production, received above-normal precipitation in 2011. This rainfall data underscored how important precipitation timing can be. May precipitation provided timely moisture for the wheat crop, which turned out decent at many locations. Precipitation recorded in July, assisted the spring planted crops such as corn and sunflower.
In addition, reduced tillage soil management has helped to extend limited rainfall that was received. This was evident at harvest when better-than-expected dryland yields were observed.
Growing degree days, which is a calculated measurement of heat that corn can utilize, was observed much above normal during the summer months. June, July, and August measurements recorded much-above normal growing degree days, while May and September recorded below-normal growing degree days. May heat is important for germination and early growth while heat received in September is important for crop maturity.