Summer heat & St. Louis soil moisture’s sweet spot

ST. LOUIS, MO. – It has rained heavily for farmers recently during the planting season. But moist soil in the summer can be a good thing, as the heat can quickly change conditions within weeks to months.

“We have a lot of soil moisture, more than we really want in spring. But time will show with summer that we can go the other way and have these drought conditions, ”says Dale Haudrich, Farmer at Waterloo.

The St. Louis metropolitan area and surrounding communities are currently untouched by the arid conditions in much of the United States.

“At the moment there is a drought in the north, west and a little to the south-west. But not really here, ”says Mark Fuchs, Senior Service Hydrologist at the National Weather Service St. Louis. “We’re kind of at a sweet spot. Will it take? It is not likely. “

With the exception of February, the first four months of 2021 brought above-average rainfall for every month. The deficit in February is not large, 0.6 inches below average.

“St. Louis is doing great this year. We rained a lot, ”explains Fuchs. “It was distributed in such a way that the floods we had were not so terrible.”

Farmers are optimistic about the warmer and drier summer months.

“We are players. We all put our eggs in this basket and hope that Mother Nature will work together all year round, ”says Haudrich.

The summer heat can quickly change soil moisture. St. lLuis has seen it before.

“Now temperatures are expected to be above average, and that could be an evaporation problem,” says Fuchs. “We try to keep an eye out, especially when we come into the warm season for what we call lightning drought. This is the rapid deterioration in conditions due to the onset of summer. “

The last drought of 2012 was when low dew points caused an excellent rate of evolution.

“We went from D-0, what we call D-nada, through St. Charles County and parts of St. Louis County to widespread D-3 in just two months this year. It’s very quick, ”said Fuchs.

Fortunately, improvements from lightning drought can come just as quickly, which is essential for the corn on the dining table.

Even in desperate times, plants protect themselves with roots that stretch up to 18 inches in the ground. New technology that enables growth in summer heat and drought, such as the artesian hybrid, which can survive drier than normal routes. Fortunately, NOAA’s three month rain forecast shows St. Louis remains in the sweet spot.

“We are in excellent shape this year and our prospects are reasonable,” says Fuchs. “We’re seeing a probability of above average rainfall east of the Mississippi and near normal probabilities in Missouri.”

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