AGRIBUSINESS: A Dry Year Ahead

Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist for Iowa told the Agribusiness Report on WHO-TV that there is no real improvement from the drought – looking at the US drought monitor. Numbers since last week are more or less identical, but the real question is soil moisture. 

Hillaker says in the far northeast corner of the state, places like Clayton and Winneshiek county, have about eight to eight and half inches of moisture profile in the ground. Northwest Iowa, on the other hand, has only about two to three inches. He says that’s a real problem, because that part of the state already has a low chance of abundant rainfall normally. 

Shallow aquifers and farm ponds, Hillaker says, won’t reach normal levels until that soil profile returns to normal. But most telling are groundwater levels, which are worse now than they were at this time one year ago, in spite of a wetter fall this year than last.

Hillaker says the earliest we can expect to reach normal soil moisture levels again is the fall of 2013, but only if we get more rainfall next year and the summer isn’t excessively hot.

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