For the first time in a long time, farmers in south-central Indiana reported seeing water run out of a tile line. It’s sort of like seeing rain and wanting to jump in it when you hadn’t seen it for two months. They couldn’t wait to tell someone that at least there was some water running again.
That’s the good news. The so-so news is that in cases reported so far, they have been tile lines draining very low areas of fields, or low spots along poorly drained streams. Those were also the soils that produced corn this year, even when the rest of the field didn’t. Most people attribute their ability to produce corn, even if it wasn’t a bin bister, to their ability to supply enough water to the crop so that it could put out shoots normally and hold on through the hottest period of the drought.
Tile lines are still dry in many fields on higher soils away from low areas, although agronomists believe there’s been enough rain in many parts of the state to begin to get them to start soaking moisture deeper into the soil. Since they were so dry, expect it to be a slow process.
Those who drive post holes for a living, albeit with mechanical post drivers, say it’s easier now than it was, but it’s still reasonably tough driving to put in new fence posts. One person who operates a business building farm fences found it was so hard in mid-summer that he actually was tearing up equipment trying to drive posts where he normally wouldn’t have an issue.
October is typically one of the lowest, if not the lowest, depending upon where you live, month for average rainfall in Indiana. Keep an eye on October totals, and then on what comes afterwards. Climatologists still say there needs to be ample rainfall to get soils fully recharged before spring. If soils go into spring without full recharge, it makes the odds of a drought that could impact crops higher.