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Moisture concerns flaring up

Jeff Caldwell 04/04/2012 @ 9:14am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

While the soil moisture's rapidly improving in parts of the southern Plains so far this spring, there are still dry pockets. One of those areas that's thirsty is Nebraska.

The U.S. Drought Monitor shows around 1/3 of the state was "abnormally dry" as of last week. The central part of Nebraska appears in better shape, while conditions in western and eastern areas, along with western and eastern South Dakota and the northwest half of Iowa, are running between abnormally and severely dry, according to the Drought Monitor.

"This warm weather early is coming with more than normal wind and less than normal moisture," says Agriculture.com Farm Business Talk advisor Nebrfarmr. "I would estimate that we are ending March with as little subsoil moisture as I can remember."

The conditions are even drier to the north and east, where much of northwestern and north-central is under moderate to severe drought conditions, according to the Drought Monitor. Farm Business Talk frequent contributor farmandfire can vouch for those conditions, both on his farm and in his work in conducting prescribed fire operations on north-central Iowa land.

"I would expect around here everyone will have the planters parked on the head lands on April 10 loaded for the 11th. I would have never guessed that march 9th we would of had 75-degree temps," he says. "Planting this early just doesn't feel right and a chance of a killing frost is still real possible. I'd rather have my $300 corn in the bag till it's a for sure before sticking it in the ground."

But, the dry conditions in areas like central Iowa aren't deterring all farmers from feeling at least a little optimistic about the prospects for better-than-normal early planting progress soon.

"Had a farmer call me this morning and was concerned about having enough moisture to plant corn in. It is still early yet and one wet weather system could change things fast," says Marketing Talk contributor Wind. "I have a hunch there will be a lot of corn planted next week around here."


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