Mar 29, 2022

Dryer-Than-Normal Soil Moisture a Concern in Western Corn Belt

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

I realize it is early to start speculating about potential dry conditions during the U.S. growing season, but all you must do is look at the recent Drought Monitor map to become concerned. Much of the western Corn Belt is already short on soil moisture and if the current pattern persists, the "soil moisture tank" in the western Corn Belt may only be half full as we move into the summer growing season.

Additionally, La Nina in the Pacific Ocean is not fading as quickly as expected and the longer it persists, the greater the odds that the current weather pattern will persist as well. La Nina has resulted in two consecutive years of dryer-than-normal weather in South America and as I have said many times before, there is often a mirror image of the weather in North and South America, but it is hard to know which hemisphere is leading and which is trailing.

I am not a meteorologist and I have no facts to back this up, but I think if we start the U.S. growing season dryer-than-normal and La Nina is still present, the odds increase for a dryer-than-normal summer in the U.S.

The states of most concern currently are Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Of lessor concern as far as row crops are concerned, are Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado. Farmers in those states are expected to plant more double crop soybeans after the wheat is harvested due to high soybean prices. If there is a lack of soil moisture in Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma after the wheat is harvested, it could jeopardize the double crop soybean planting.