“the ground is cracked.” Israel had a dry season and a wet season. The Fall rain (the “former rain”) usually started in October and softened the ground and began the wet season which lasts usually until April. Usually by the end of April the dry season starts and it does not rain again until October. The hot sun bakes the ground from April to October and it becomes dry, hard, and cracked. The farmers have to wait for the Fall rains to soften the ground so they are able to plow the ground and plant the seed. God promised that if Israel obeyed God the rain would come in its proper season (Lev. 26:3-4; Deut. 11:13-14; 28:12). If the rains do not come, the farmers know something is wrong and they are ashamed and cover their heads.