Continued dry conditions in WCB ‘a moderate concern’
Much of the Western Corn Belt continues to be very dry and the prospects for significant soil moisture recharge before next spring are looking less positive every day.
Dennis Todey, director of USDA’s Midwest Climate Hub, says it not what you like to see heading into winter.
“I guess I won’t put it as a huge concern, but a moderate concern, that we are facing what we are right now,” Todey says. “In the western part of the Corn Belt, the Plains area, where you have warmer conditions, higher evapotranspiration—crop water use—during the year, you like knowing you have some water in that bank.”
Adding to the concern, he says, is the presence of the La Nina weather pattern.
“It’s not a guarantee, but there is a tendency to be drier, especially in the Plains states. Not all the way north—the Dakotas have a little better chance of being more active. But as you get south of there, there is an increased probability of being drier through the winter and into early spring.”
A recent soil moisture report from northwest Iowa showed only two to three inches of moisture in the five-foot profile, which is about half of normal for November. A full moisture profile in that area will contain around 11 inches of plant available water.