This observation may be moot in areas that received considerable rain recently, but just a few days ago, observers say subsoil moisture was still not up to par in some of the more productive parts of Indiana.
Ag climatologists have been reporting that they expected subsoil moisture to be fully recharged before planting season, but it appears that may depend upon how much moisture the current weather pattern brings across the state. So far, rainfall patterns have been spotty, slightly unusual for this early in the year. The overall forecast is still for wetter and warmer than normal conditions through spring in much of the Corn Belt, particularly in the eastern Corn Belt.
"When we got rains last fall and more rain and snow during the winter, I was hoping we would be recharging subsoil moisture," says Bill Pickart, Carroll County. He will be reporting his observations on soil and crop conditions throughout the season in our new web feature, Friday Field Walk, starting May 3.
Until last Wednesday, Pickart says his area was behind on subsoil moisture. Part of the area received 3.5 inches of rain. The soils went from dry to saturated almost overnight, which will slow down field work. Not everywhere received that kind of rain, however.
"We are starting to accumulate a lot of below normal temperatures for this time of year," he adds. "The bottom line in my area is that field work is about average, as of last week, moisture supply is now on the wet side, and temperatures are below average."
Pickart says that before last week's rain, the creeks in his area were low and running clear. That's even though his area received a foot of snow during the last week of March. The snow melted quickly. He noticed that once temperatures warmed a bit after the snow melted, even normally wet areas in fields were beginning to dry out rather quickly. Then the rains came.
Pickart suggests that field work up until now is about normal for this time of year in his area, on average – whatever that is these days!