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Concerns over subsoil moisture as farmers begin spring preparations

IARN — Iowa’s state climatologist is monitoring subsoil moisture concerns with growers already looking ahead to the 2021 planting season.

Dr. Justin Glisan tells the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network that many farmers conducting fall field work are concerned about the upcoming spring planting season because of the dry conditions we’ve experienced this fall and over the summer.

“In 2018 we had the third wettest fall on record and 2019 was the 12th wettest fall,” Glisan said. “So we’ve had wet falls recently. This one has been drier than average. August was the third driest August on record and summertime was the 17th driest. Especially when we look at western Iowa where we have precipitation deficits of anywhere from 8-12 inches going back into last fall, we are concerned about the amount of subsoil moisture there. Some good news on the precipitation front is that we do see an active storm track setting up over the next seven days.”

As for the weekly update on dry conditions in Iowa, the US Drought Monitor on Thursday showed little change week/week.

“We had a dry seven days for the Drought Monitor process,” Glisan said. “Typically, data cutoff is 7 a.m. on Tuesday. The map is released on Thursday and then that map is backdated to Tuesday. Those previous seven days were dry. What we saw though are temperatures that were anywhere from 10-12 degrees below average. When you have those colder than average temperatures with a lack of precipitation this time of year, it really doesn’t change the map. That’s what we’re seeing. No change really.”

To stay up to date on the work from Glisan’s office, visit the Iowa Climatology Bureau’s website. Glisan can also be reached by calling 515-281-8981.

Story courtesy of the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network.

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