As the growing season approaches, agronomists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in northwest Iowa will be taking subsoil moisture level samples in April.
Results will be made available after samples are collected and calculations are completed. Subsoil moisture levels in northwest Iowa were at historic lows last fall following the 2022 growing season. Subsoil moisture deficits between minus-two and minus-seven were recorded at sample sites last fall including in Battle Creek, Marcus, Newell, Rolfe, and Schaller.
Subsoil moisture can be replenished from rainfall when the ground thaws in the spring through the months of March and April. Typical rainfall for those months is three to five inches. About 80-percent of that rainfall will contribute to subsoil moisture reserves. Corn and soybean crops require about 20 inches of moisture from rainfall and subsoil moisture to produce a crop. That number may increase to 25 inches per season when high temperatures and windy conditions are prevalent during the summer.
The Iowa Drought Monitor shows much of northwest Iowa remains in some level of drought.