BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
After a soaking spring and early summer, Greene County has so far experienced a remarkably dry fall.
There was less than one inch of rainfall in Greene County in October, according to data collected at the University of Tennessee's AgResearch and Education Center at Greeneville.
The center acts as the official weather station for Greene County.
This October, the center saw only 0.77 of an inch.
(Note: The center's last recording for the month was at 7 a.m. on Oct. 31. Any rainfall after that time on Thursday will be recorded for November.)
Center Director Rob Ellis recorded the most rain within any given day, 0.47 of an inch, at 7 a.m. on Oct. 7.
All other days had one-tenth of an inch or less.
The center recorded precipitation on only eight days in October.
THIRD STRAIGHT MONTH
This is the third consecutive month that Greene County has been below average in the amount of rainfall:
* August was 1.7 inches below the 3.8-inch average;
* September was 1.3 inches below the 3.25-inch average; and,
* October was 1.58 inches below the 2.35-inch average.
Massive rainfall earlier in the year took Greene County beyond its 12-month average by midway through the year.
Even with August through October being below average in precipitation, the county is already 6.42 inches above average for the entire year.
The average rainfall for the entire year in Greene County is 44.28 inches.
Since January 2013, the center has recorded 50.7 inches.
HAY SHORTAGE AHEAD?
All that rainfall at once kept farmers from mowing pastures and bringing in hay, resulting in lower quality once mowing did take place, according to Jake Haun, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Services Agency Office in Greene County.
"Some people are reporting not enough hay because of not being able to cut it in a timely manner," he said.
Now, drier conditions and the early freeze killed out the summer grasses sooner than expected, leaving little to pasture, Haun said.
He explained that Greene County now has less of the grasses that flourish in cooler temperatures than customarily thrived here in the past because of overgrazing during several droughts that occurred in the past decade.
Without these cooler-temperature grasses growing now, farmers are already beginning to turn to what hay they brought in earlier, Haun explained.
But with the quality of that hay below normal, he said, the possibility that farmers will need to purchase considerable supplements even earlier in the year than they had hoped is now a likely reality.