BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
In the eight decades that the University of Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center at Greeneville has collected rainfall data for the county, never has there been so much in one year as there was in 2013.
Since record-keeping began here in 1933, Greene County has not seen precipitation equal to that of last year.
The total for the year was 59.78 inches at the center's East Allens Bridge Road location.
December rainfall came in at 5.27 inches, which was 1.35 inches above average.
The center serves as the county's official weather station.
According to Director Rob Ellis' records, the 30-year average rainfall is 44.28 inches.
That puts last year's total at 15.5 inches above average.
The nearest precipitation recorded was in 1957, with 58.42 inches.
The next closest year to that, 1989, had only 53.95 inches.
"It's been a tough year," Ellis said. "For example, with our tobacco crop here ... we've lost about half of what I would expect our potential yields to be."
Interestingly, the least amount of rain in that 80-year period came in 2007, when the center only recorded 25.30 inches of rain.
Despite that year's being the worst drought the center has ever recorded, Ellis said the tobacco yield that year was at least better than the yield for 2013.
"It kind of indicates that tobacco is what a lot of folks call a dry-weather crop," the director noted.
The situation was the opposite for hay and pasture in 2007. In that drought year, it was difficult to find enough to feed, Ellis said.
In 2013, however, feed was prevalent, with lush pastures and enough hay yields.
"That's a pretty unique thing, to have the driest year recorded in 2007 and then to turn around and have the wettest year six years later," Ellis said.
But that unexpected turn is just the way it is for farmers, he added.