Sunday, July 15, 2012

How Much Is An Inch?

As Melissa mentioned in her last post we have finally had some significant rainfall, though not nearly enough to break the drought. We normally measure rainfall and water deficits in inches of moisture but I sometimes think that gives an inadequate picture for most of us. An inch of rain on a unit of land area is an awful lot of gallons of water. Here are some fun factoids for those of you who enjoy stuff like this.

An acre of land is a little bit more than 208 feet on a side, or 43,560 square feet in total.

One inch of rain falling on one acre of land is roughly 32,530 gallons of water.

Our farm in Lynnville is 150 acres in size, so every time we get an inch of rain that means 4,880,700 gallons of water fell on our farm. Yesterday we got 2.5 inches of rain. That means 12,201,750 gallons of water fell on our land. Because it came slowly almost all of it was absorbed by the very dry soil.

Yesterday's rain was very welcome but it's not nearly enough to break the drought. We are operating at a 15 inch rainfall deficit this year. On our farm that means we would need 73,210,500 gallons of water to bring us back to where we should be at this time of year in terms of accrued precipitation. So when you look out the window and quietly wonder why the pastures and hay fields look as poor as they do, now you have a different sort of answer.

This area gets roughly 55 inches of rain in an average year. Put another way, over the course of an average year our farm has 268,438,500 gallons of water fall on it.  Yes, you read that figure right ! For comparison purposes, the horses drink roughly 600 gallons per day, or 219,000 gallons per year...a miniscule amount compared to the water that's required to grow their forage.

Hope everyone enjoyed our fun factoids on water tonight. 


Titan and Asterik

Winston and Silver

Lighty, B-Rad and Alex grazing during a light rain

Johnny and Sebastian

Lotus and Romeo

Noble and Thor


Trigger, Baby, Tony and Apollo

Norman and Traveller having a pony sized grooming session


Bif said...

My head hurts a little now.

So, a US gallon is 231 cubic inches...

Cheyenne said...

Well, Melissa, all those millions of gallons, must be falling on us!Lol.

Kate said...

Your drought is even worse than ours - we've had only one substantial (more than 1/2 inch) rain since April and are now about 9 inches behind where we should be. And don't get me started about the heat . . .

Madame de Maintenon said...

We finally got some rain in Ontario this weekend, but it also didn't do much to alleviate the dry, dry summer that we're having. Ponds are still empty, grass is still yellow and it is still hot hot HOT. The horses are all getting turned out at night and aren't complaining at all because they're not being ridden in this heat either.

GreyDrakkon said...

Iowa is also doing horribly with rain. It's so long between rains that my rain barrel runs dry, or close to it.