Soils much drier heading into the growing season
A USDA meteorologist says there are good and bad aspects of the Upper Midwest soil moisture profile going into the 2021 growing season. The agency’s Midwest Climate Hub director Dennis Todey says last year’s soil moisture in South Dakota was high following two wet years, but this year those soils are much drier.
“We’re probably going to be able to get into the field a little sooner than we have some other years because our soils are so dry, and it also may allow our crop to root better,” said Todey, speaking at a meeting of the Southeast Experiment Farm near Beresford, South Dakota. “But the short answer is I’m concerned that we can get enough moisture back in that profile to keep us going through the season.”
There should be some easing of drought conditions when spring arrives, according to Todey.
“Not because we’re expecting big improvement, but because we tend to get more rainfall in the spring,” said Todey. “That’s a time before crops start growing and before we start getting too much evaporation.”