BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
April's showers kept farmers in Greene County and much of the state from planting corn on their normal schedule. However, many farmers may have been out this week taking advantage of the warmer weather and sunny skies.
April brought Greene County 4.93 inches of rain, according to totals recorded at the University of Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center.
The center, on East Allens Bridge Road, is the county's official weather station.
The average April rainfall is 3.72 inches, making the total rainfall for the month 1.21 inches above average.
This puts the county 6.67 inches ahead of average for the first four months of the year.
For January through April, the county received 21.71 inches, which represents half of the total yearly average rainfall.
There was only one day in April that the center recorded more than an inch of rain -- at 7 a.m. on April 5, measuring the precipitation between that time and 7 a.m. on April 14.
Other days of significant rainfall included .8 inches on April 12, .64 inches on April 29, and .6 inches on April 28.
"Wet weather continued to delay corn planting, with the current plantings falling about a week behind the five-year average," according to a news release from the United States Department of Agriculture National Agriculture Statistics Service.
The weekly Tennessee Crop Weather summary notes that there were 3.5 days in which farmers could work last week, but only two were suitable for planting.
Temperatures last week were an average 5 to 6 degrees below normal.
"This upcoming week (the current week), growers hope to catch up on corn planting and also begin cotton and soybean planting," according to the release.
Jake Haun, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Services Agency Office in Greene County, said that Greene County's high moisture level has kept the ground cold and delayed corn planting and hay mowing considerably.
"We're running at least three weeks behind," he said.
Milton Orr, UT Extension Director for Greene County, agreed.
"Things that we have gotten planted are looking good. [However,] it's not only rainfall that has interfered with getting seed in the ground, but also temperatures," Orr said.
"Most of our crops are dependent on soil temperatures in order for germination to occur. We've been so cool here that that has interfered somewhat.
"Still, overall, it's shaping up to be a pretty decent season. It's just been a little cooler than we like to see," he said.
While growers prefer to see soil temperatures above 50 degrees, this has only just begun to consistently occur in recent days.
Subsoil moistures, those 6 to 8 inches below the surface, are ranking as "adequate" at this time, although the situation varies widely across the county, Orr added.
He ranked local crops as being in "pretty decent shape," and said that several acres of corn would be planted this week.