Dry Conditions Affecting Soil Moisture Levels in West Central Illinois

By Gary Scott on March 23, 2017 at 7:43am

Planting season for corn, beans and other crops in West Central Illinois is right around the corner.

Local farmers will be hitting the fields in the next couple months following a historically dry winter.

University of Illinois Extension Educator Duane Friend joined WLDS’ “What’s On Your Mind?” program yesterday. Friend says while the area has yet to reach extreme drought conditions, it’s important that more precipitation comes soon.

“Here in the western part of the state, the National Weather Service has this area designated as ‘abnormally dry,’ and actually, we’re kind of in the sliver where it’s the next step above that in terms of drought. It’s not into the severe category by any means, but it’s getting to the point where it could be a concern if we don’t start getting some precipitation in the next few weeks,” says Friend.

Friend says the dry conditions could have an effect on soil moisture. He explains how moisture levels could affect planting season over the next several months.

“If you’re looking at those top two inches of soil, where that corn is going to be placed and there’s almost no moisture in there, it’s just going to sit there until you do get some moisture. Now if that happens within a week or so after the planting takes place, it may not be that much of a concern. But, if we just get that one rain then it continues to be dry, that’s when the really big concern comes in,” say Friend.

Hear more about soil moisture conditions by listening to our full interview with Friend on our website at WLDS/WEAI.com.