Late winter snowfall could be a good sign for farmers
By Jacqueline Quynh, Multimedia Journalist - email
Tom Bride walking over to tractor to pick up hay for cattle.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -
Two major storms have hit Siouxland in the last three weeks bringing a combination of rain, ice, and snow. That's left some, especially farmers wondering if that's brought any drought relief to the soil.
Tom Bride, a Sioux City farmer said he's seen a few good signs on his farm. He's hoping for anything but a repeat of last year. Bride and his family have been farming soybeans, corn, and raising cattle on this farm for the last 45 years. With about 4 weeks to go until the start of planting season, he said he's looking to bounce back.
"Everybody looks forward to planting the new crop and being optimistic that it's going to be a good year," Bride said.
Bride thinks the recent storm, which brought both rain and snow, came at a good time.
"As you can see the ground is thawed so this type of snow we get this year the moisture will go into the soil better," Bride said.
Joel DeJong researches rainfall and how it affects crops. He says the soil still needs to recover from last year's drought.
"We're way below normal yet for this year. Our soil can hold about 11 inches of water. The first of November it was only holding from 2 to 5 inches of water depending on where you were in northwest Iowa," DeJong said.
Moisture in the ground is needed for plant roots to get water. That's why DeJong says Mother Nature needs to make up for last year's lack of rain.
"We're looking for good rain this spring, and we would love to have above average rainfall," DeJong said.
But he says the recent rain, and snow, does help with moisture levels.
"Snow melt and rain fall a lot of it actually ran off which gets into lakes and rivers but ultimately lakes and rivers have a tendency to recharge the soil around them so that's a positive," DeJong said.
DeJong is cautiously optimistic.
"It maybe gives a us a hint that some of these weather patterns are changing may be are going to see more precipitation in these parts of the state," DeJong said.
Meanwhile back on the farm, Bride, says he won't feel any relief until harvest. He hopes an old farmer's saying comes true.
"Maybe we'll have a wet year this year, they say it's good crop after a drought," Bride said.
DeJong says the soil in this region needs about six to eight inches of moisture this spring and another 14 inches to give adequate moisture to crops this coming season.
But, he says it would take even more rainfall to get us out of the drought.
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