Major Difference in Prairie Soil Moisture

May 21, 2021

Rain and snow now and in the coming days will no doubt help, but much of Western Canada remained well behind a year earlier in terms of soil moisture as of the end of April.

As can be seen by comparing the two maps below, the moisture situation was considerably different a year ago. That is particularly true in southwestern Manitoba, where soil moisture in 2020 was actually rated surplus in a couple of small pockets. In contrast, much of the same area is now considered short to very short on moisture

Meanwhile, the bulk of Prairie grain belt last year was reported to have adequate soil moisture, while many of those same areas today are considered ‘short.’

This year’s moisture problems have been compounded by a drier-biased spring that followed mostly dry fall weather and a winter that saw far below normal amounts of snow. The rain in the snow in the forecast now is expected to help improve conditions for early crop emergence and development but not significantly alter longer-term soil moisture conditions.

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