ROLFE, Iowa — Iowa State University Extension has released a survey that details the subsoil moisture content at 16 sites across northwest Iowa.
The survey included Pocahontas County where surveyors dug into the dirt on a farm southwest of Rolfe. Average soil moisture in the fall is around 6 inches, but the study measured only 1.74 inches of soil moisture, with a moisture deficit of 4.26 inches.
Pocahontas County on average receives about 33.85 inches in the fall, but this year the county only saw 24.62 inches, resulting in a deficit of 9.23 inches.
“The purpose of the study we do every fall and spring, every year for growers just trying to provide them with a baseline of how much sub soil moisture is available in the fall and spring of every year,” said Gentry Sorenson, who is a Field Agronomist for ISU Extension, in the Algona office. “The Pocahontas site I did not find much moisture in the top 4 feet of soil, I started to hit moisture at about 5 feet. So that tells me that the crop was really drawing upon on the top 4 feet of moisture within that profile to finish out for the year.”
The survey will be conducted again prior to spring planting.
For the Allen Brothers Farms near Rolfe, the harvest wasn’t a disaster for them.
“We were able to raise a really good crop, part of the reason was about several years ago we had 230 acres that were underwater that year. “That ground produced an average in about 63 bushel an acre on 850 acres, we were pretty happy with that, considering how dry it was.”
That was the yield for soybeans. Their corn yielded an average of just under 200 bushels to the acre.
Although they came out OK this year, the Allens plan to have plenty of insurance on their crop coming up next season.