Average Indiana snowfall this winter is well below normal. For example, South Bend is running about a foot of snow behind where it typically is this time of year, though last winter was even worse. Drought stress was a concern toward the end of last growing season and Purdue Extension Soybean Specialist Shaun Casteel says it’s still a concern, especially in northern Indiana.
Before the last round of snow, “About a third of the state was abnormally dry, in that northwest corner, to what they call ‘Drought 1’ status about 15 percent,” says Casteel. “So, definitely areas that were needing it. So, again that soil recharge- I think that’s one that a lot of people going into the middle of winter, we enjoyed the fall to get some applications out of fertilizer, but some recharge is definitely in need.”
Purdue Extension Corn Specialist Bob Nielsen says the snow was needed and helpful, but we’re going to need more precipitation to solve the drought problem.
“Certainly, and I think maybe particularly given how heavy and wet snow was, there’s a lot of moisture in those 6 or 8 inches that that we had around here. Snow that is that heavy and wet is not going to solve the drought, but it’s certainly nice to get. We’re going to need even more frequent, or least reliable, rainfall as we move into spring to try to reduce that drought threat even more.”
Bitter cold temperatures are on the way this weekend and sticking around next week.
“For those areas that are going to experience below zero in the next few days or so, that kind of heavy snowfall on any wheat or cover crops that are out there is going to be beneficial.”
Hoosier Ag Today Chief Meteorologist Ryan Martin is calling for 4-7 more inches of snow between now and next Wednesday over multiple events in northern Indiana, though some models are calling for up to 16 inches in that same timeframe.
You can hear more from Nielsen and Casteel in the latest Purdue Crop Chat Podcast below.