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Northeast Indiana drought conditions improve after weekend rain

A week later, after a little bit of rain, this Noble County cornfield has shown a good deal of growth.
Rebecca Green
A week later, after a little bit of rain, this Noble County cornfield has shown a good deal of growth.

Northeast Indiana is dealing with poor air quality from Canadian wildfire smoke and dry conditions from a drought. At least one agricultural expert said with the recent rainfall in the region, the end of the drought appears to be in sight.

Greg Kneubuhler is an agronomist and president and owner of G&K Concepts, Inc. He told WBOI last week that the next seven days would be critical in determining the fate of this year’s crop. After the weekend dumped half an inch to two inches of rain, Kneubuhler said he’s more optimistic.

“We got some life-saving rain last week more or less,” he said.

Kneubuhler said it’s difficult to say whether or not enough rain fell because of the variety of amounts different areas saw.

“Some got quite a bit more than others,” he said. “Some still didn’t get as much as we need, but we are in a lot better position than what we were a week ago.”

The National Weather Service (NWS) said Whitley County saw the most rainfall from the weekend with areas south southwest of Columbia City seeing more than two inches of rain while areas south southwest of Fort Wayne saw little more than half an inch of rain.

NWS meteorologists are forecasting more rain for this weekend and more moisture in the air over the next week.

Kneubuhler said the poor air quality from the Canadian wildfire smoke has not had an impact on agriculture because it’s too early in the season for that to happen, but he said that could change.

“When you get to (the fruiting and reproductive) stage of the crop, we need to have sunlight,” Kneubuhler said. “We need to have photosynthesis.” He went on to say, “As time goes on, if we continue to have overcast days and no sunshine, that can hurt us,” he said. “I think that does have an impact, and I think this is one of those deals where time will tell.”

NWS could not give a definitive timeline for when the wildfire smoke will be out of the Indiana air.

Tony Sandleben joined the WBOI News team in September of 2022.