Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
8:37 am
Mon December 31, 2012

Drought Update: Iowa Soil Still Drier Than Normal

This summer's drought damaged crops across the region.
Credit Tom Woodward / Flickr

     

Like many Midwestern states, Iowa is closing the 2012 calendar year with soil moisture deficits after this summer's drought. But with the new crop year at least four months away, Iowa State University Climatologist Elwynn Taylor is seeing some spotty

Taylor credits abundant fall rains with helping mitigate the drought, at least for now.

“There are some places that have had normal recharge of the soil,      and almost up to what it would be at planting time,” he says.         “However, that is not the majority of locations in the state of Iowa         or in our neighboring states until you reach southern Indiana and         most of Ohio.”

          Taylor says the Ohio River Valley has had consistent, near-normal precipitation. A few places in Iowa are nearly normal as well. But Taylor predicts a deficit in subsoil moisture for most areas by the critical date of May 1.

Overall, Taylor says Iowa’s deeper, subsoil moisture levels      are generally worse than a year ago. He says water-thirsty plants           last summer sent their roots farther down depleting the moisture at   deeper depths.