Has spring sprung? The calendar says NO! It’s February 21st. But what does the calendar know? Oklahoma’s plants and weather tell us that spring’s onset has begun. These iris are under a heavy mulch of leaves and in a low light area. That hasn’t slowed their emergence. Picture taken February 21, 2017 in Chickasha, OK.
January was a month of surprises! We froze from some of the coldest temperatures we’ve seen since 2011, then ended the month basking in spring-like, warm weather.
For January, the departure from Oklahoma Mesonet‘s 15-year average air temperatures ranged from 5 degrees above average in the Northeast and Southeast to 1 degree below average at Kenton in the Panhandle. The majority of winter wheat and canola fields were in areas that came in at 1-2 degrees above average.
What a cold weekend we just went through! For Oklahoma, the cold air swept through the state on Saturday, December 17, 2016. The next two mornings, Sunday and Monday, were especially brutal for cattle.
Checking the Mesonet Cattle Comfort Advisor for Saturday, the maximum Cattle Comfort Index values ran from 82 degrees at Broken Bow in the southeast to zero at Boise City and Eva in the Panhandle.
Oklahoma’s weather roller coaster has opened for business. And on the farm, the cattle are feeling it. Warm, cold, warm, cold and how about a day of drizzle that turned to freezing rain with a biting wind (Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016).
Temperature weather variability has two sides. One side is the peak-to peak (amplitude) of the variability, how high or low temperatures go. The mornings of December 17th and 18th are going to be bitter cold with extreme lows. Continue reading
October followed a warm September with above average temperatures. Unfortunately, what was below average in October were our rainfall totals.
Looking back at October, our average air temperatures for the month were 4 to 7 degrees above average. Northern and central sections of the state, the yellow-orange areas, had the largest departure from the Oklahoma Mesonet Long-term 15-year average (2001-2015).
When the rain arrives, it comes with refreshing, rain-cooled air.
What we don’t give much thought to is the bonus of the cooling effect of rain on soil temperatures. Wednesday, October 5, 2016 gave us a good example of how rain cools the soil.
Pat turned to me and with excitement in his voice and declared, “That was a “GOOD” rain!” Pat raises cattle. He watches his cattle closely to make sure they have what they need to stay happy and healthy.
So what is a “good” rain? For ranchers, like Pat, it means a rain that is timely. The rain needs to fall often enough to keep the grass growing. No rain. No grass. That’s what we had in 2011.
Photo: Chris Peterson Continue reading
Thankfully, here in August we’ve had a summer heat reprieve. While we’re a little cooler, Oklahoma’s plants are still pulling a lot of water out of the soil each day. And for many Oklahoma locations soils are on the dry side. That can put a strain on unirrigated summer crops as they head to maturity.
As July comes to an end in Oklahoma, farmers’ thoughts are jumping ahead to harvest. Farmers that planted corn, cotton and peanuts are thinking about the heat units those crops need to mature. They want their efforts to end in good yields and good quality. To check on crop maturity they can turn to the Oklahoma Mesonet Degree-day Heat Unit Calculator.
We don’t seem to slide into summer heat in Oklahoma. Instead, summer arrives with searing heat, days after it was cool enough to grab a sweatshirt. Now that we’ve recovered from the shock of summer’s arrival, this would be a good time to take notes on how the heat impacted your cattle. Did your animals suffer from the heat? Did you note any times of unusual behavior?
In Oklahoma, you have the Mesonet Cattle Comfort Advisor that charts daytime heat and nighttime cooling. By matching up the Cattle Comfort index values to your cattle’s behavior, you can develop heat stress thresholds unique for your location and animals from your nearest Oklahoma Mesonet site.