Category Archives: Soil Moisture
The drought monitor put a portion of our area back into ‘abnormally dry’. Soil moisture sensors in non-irrigated ground suggest portions of our area should be listed at least in D1 drought status. I got creative in posting these as I had to take pictures with my phone of the pics I created on the computer…so if they’re a little grainy, that’s why. Here’s the updated readings for the area!
Grateful to receive rain to help the first and second foot profiles at these locations! Interesting how after 2-3″ of rain on June 20th that the county roads were already dusty and I could drive the dirt lanes in these fields the next day. I will add York, Seward, and Clay soil moisture in my next post.
Hoping these graphs change for us after this past weekend’s rain events! These readings were taken as of 5/17/18.
At the Lawrence location I’m just sharing last week’s graphs from 5/10/18. Soybean was planted into the corn stubble on 5/11/18 and the sensors were removed and re-installed with the readings needing time to adjust. The farmer said it was so dry he had to use a drill to re-install the moisture sensors. I have no idea what happened in the soybean stubble field but the readings this past week were crazy so decided to share new graphs on the Lawrence location next week.
The area of ‘abnormally dry’ or ‘moderate drought’ was reduced by 5% in Nebraska as of 5/8/18 compared to the previous week.
Today was interesting driving my route through the southern tier of counties I serve. Wearing overboots and walking instead of driving to the sensors was welcome at Byron and Superior where heavier rain events occurred this week. However, Lawrence and Bladen had largely missed the rains. The Clay Center location received 1″ the past two days, but other areas of Clay County received very little. The farmers who have allowed me to monitor pre-plant soil moisture thus far were interested in watching this throughout the growing season. Thus, sensors will remain in most of these fields. Where fields have been planted thus far (other than Clay Center), planters have planted around the sensors and seeds have been hand-planted between sensors.
Some rains helped with the top foot profile at some of these locations last week. One thing to keep in mind when viewing these graphs is we don’t always know what’s going on below the soil surface. One farmer had a good point regarding my “blips in the graphs” in my last blog post. I mentioned they could be due to a soil crack along the PVC pipe-which we do see occur and can be true. However, he also had a good point that it could be a worm hole, root channel, etc. that water may have followed for a brief time period, which could also be true, especially in these long-term no-till fields. As you look at the charts this week, it’s important to keep in mind that soil water also moves via gravity (termed ‘gravitational water’). Thus, sometimes why we can see changes in soil moisture in the successive drier layer with small amounts of precipitation.