Farmers roll the dice every year when they plant. Remember back to all those rains in May. Those rains came right when it was time to get summer crops like cotton, sorghum, sesame, peanuts, watermelons, and okra planted. No worries about late planting a crop like okra, since it’s harvested continuously as young pods. For all of the other crops, late planting is a gamble with fall weather and crop maturity.
The transition time of fall means we need to be ready for hot or cold, wet or dry. We have to think summer one day and more like winter the next. Sometimes, that transition happens within hours.
So when does fall begin? From a farming, ranching, gardening standpoint, it’s when air temperatures drop into mild ranges and water demand tapers off. It’s when plants respond with their fall flush of growth. Animals respond by playing more. Livestock gain more. And the kids quit asking if we’re there yet!
If we just consider minimum air temperature as a season mark, we could turn to a long-term averages graph for our dates. This graph from Minco, in central Oklahoma, has two orange lines that highlight the average dates when the minimum air temperature crosses 60 degrees F. We could use these to mark the beginning of summer and the beginning of fall.