DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — 2023 started off well above normal for precipitation but has since tapered off, leaving the Miami Valley abnormally dry. However, farmers aren’t worried just yet.

A great start to the year with a surplus of over 3 inches compared to the normal for precipitation in Dayton during the first three months, but over the past 2 months the area has seen a deficit of 4 inches of rain.

The last substantial rainfall occurred on May 20th, and with no significant threat in sight, the Climate Prediction Center has placed the Miami Valley in the “likely to develop drought conditions” category for the month, but one local farmer is not worried just yet.

Dan Sturgill, a Piqua farmer said, “Typically, it would be worrisome, but we looked at the rain records and we’ve had 19 inches of rain in this area since January 1st, which is only a half inch off normal. So going into this time of dryness, we’re okay knowing that there’s quite a bit of soil moisture underneath.

This dry period will actually help his young corn crop. Sturgill said, “That’s forcing the corn to actually root down, follow the water down so in August, it’s going to have that root structure that it will need to pull itself through.”

His real concern is still to come, during the hottest month of the year.

Sturgill said, “There in July when we have pollination, if there’s high heat, high heat in the evenings with no water, that’s when it could be extremely detrimental to this crop.”

Despite being in a good place, Sturgill has not gotten away free from losses this crop season.

He said, “The hay crop was off by 10 to 20% for first cutting, and that could be attributed to the dryness, but also it was very abnormally cool late April, early May.

The abnormally dry period fared well for those looking to plant at the end of May. Corn and soybean planting is well above the historical average in the state.