The Rain Gauge

Turning to more traditional weather issues, we have kept a rain log since our first full year at the farm in 1990. Since I was told that weather runs in 7 year cycles, I calculate our average rainfall per month and compile the data every 7 years. I use those averages to predict a coming month’s rains. Helps in planning, though it is not perfect by any means. What you expect to happen is often what does not happen. But it makes me feel better thinking that I have some basis for my plans. 2010 marked the end of another 7 year cycle, so I sat down to run the numbers for our next 7 years so we can compare the next with the last. But I also compared the last seven against the first seven and confirmed what I believed to be the case — our total annual rainfall has been shrinking. In the years ‘90 - ‘96, we averaged 42.7 inches per year. In ‘04 - ‘10, we averaged 35.4 inches per year, a 17% drop in rainfall.* It will be interesting to see if we have bottomed out and can look forward to climbing back into the 40's for rainfall. We certainly hope so. Rain is the irreplaceable piece of the farming puzzle. Stay tuned. We’re only seven years away from the answer.

* I do not count the largest or the smallest rain in a given month. That eliminates the skewing effect of a tropical storm or unusually droughty month.