Drought Easing In Northwest Iowa: Extension Agronomy Specialist Gives Numbers

soil earth ground dry dirtNorthwest Iowa — Our part of Iowa — where last year’s drought was most severe has received welcome moisture in recent weeks. Iowa State University’s spring survey in northwest Iowa found subsoil moisture levels rose five inches since tests last fall. I-S-U extension agronomist Joel De Jong says some parts of the region are almost fully recharged.

(As above) They “actually had numbers in the eight-and-a-half to nine-and-a-half almost ten-inch range in several of those counties,” De Jong says. “Got up close to Minnesota and it was only a little over six. A lot of those sites are actually getting pretty full.”

April rains and snows contributed greatly to rebuilding those levels, and Iowa set a new record high for precipitation on average statewide during the month. De Jong says going further west, the levels drop a bit but are still showing a fairly good recharge.

(As above) The “lowest site was northwest, Plymouth County, not too far from the Big Sioux River, that was only at about 4.8 inches, so we could use some recharge there yet,” De Jong says. “Western Sioux County was under seven, Lyon County’s site was just a shade over seven.”

De Jong says at full capacity at the top five feet, between 10 to 11 inches of moisture is needed. He says even though planting has been delayed, there’s still plenty of time to get the corn in with May 20 being the target date.

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