Researchers: Midwest soil has not recovered after drought
March 21, 2014
A University of Missouri (MU) researcher says that soil in the Midwest has not recovered from the recent two-year drought despite significant precipitation this winter. Randall Miles, an associate professor of soil science at the MU School of Natural Resources, says the inadequate soil is hurting farmers.
"The soil in Missouri is still dry about four to five feet down where crop roots live," Miles said. "This is an improvement from a year ago when two years of drought left many prime growing areas bone dry down to almost six feet. However, without enough moisture and nutrients, crops will produce poor yields resulting in a loss for farmers."
In order for soil to be suitable for crops, the soil moisture must "recharge." This is a process where water from rain and snow moves downward from the surface and fills in the space found in soil. A soil moisture recharge normally comes from snowmelt and rainfall in winter and early spring.
"Much of the moisture this winter was slightly below normal with enough running into the streams and rivers and little soaking in," Miles said.
Miles says even with heavy amounts of snow and rainfall, moisture near the surface can evaporate with just a few days of high winds, higher-than-normal temperatures, low relative humidity or a combination of the three. This prevents moisture from having a chance to move deep into the soil where it is needed.
For more information, please view the full release here. F
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– Adapted from a U of Missouri release via American Angus Ass'n