The difference from a year ago is staggering.
Last March we had floods and snow storms at the Rogue Farms Hopyard. This year it’s dry as a bone. And according to the Oregon Climate Service, 2013 is starting out to be one of the driest years in Oregon history.
Take a look at these jaw dropping graphics.
This chart shows us how much rain Oregon received during March, compared to the averages over the past two decades.
Areas in orange received less than 50% of normal, while areas in red got less than 25%. As you can see, that’s most of the state.
This chart shows us how March of 2013 stacks up against the previous 115 years of weather history in Oregon.
The areas in brown are in the bottom 10% for rainfall. Areas in yellow are in the bottom third. And these two areas represent almost all of Oregon.
Now, you might be wondering, is all this dry weather a good thing or a bad thing for Rogue Farms?
So far, so good. At our Barley Farm in Tygh Valley, Oregon we’re already done planting the spring crop of Dare™ 2-row malting barley. That puts us three weeks ahead of last year. An early start almost always means a better harvest in the fall.
The dryness has also made it easier for us get to work in our Hopyard. We pruned the bines over a week ago and this week are stringing the trellises. This is slightly ahead of normal.
Eventually we’d like the rain to come back. In the next couple of months consistent rain will help the barley and hops grow steadily and strongly. We have enough water to irrigate, but nothing beats real rain from nature.