Seasonal Reset - Water & Temperature
Defining seasonal reset is fixed by agricultural requirements and nature. It begins with frost leaving the ground allowing water penetration to deep soil. Within our region it begins when soil temperature rises above freezing, during March. Progresses to warming soil conditions that support seed germination. First planted grain crop is corn when soil is consistently 50-60 degrees warm, by April. Soybeans follow. Soybeans are second in priority of work to corn as corn requires a longer growing season to maturity. Milo is planted once soils reach 70 degrees, mid to late May. Late summer planted crops such as wheat or alfalfa are not part of this discussion. No other crops are discussed due to limited to no significant planting acreage.
Early seasonal reset is also when each year hunters begin to look too early for signs of what may come.
From Kansas State University agricultural research station:
We know the chart is tough to read. What it shows is on 10 March soil minimum temperatures rise above freezing for 2014. Or, when soil accepts water allowing soil moisture for vegetative growth.
What This Means To Us
Warm March soils capable of accepting moisture are drying out due to lack of rainfall. Farmers will proceed with field prep and planting. Last two year's of dry conditions combined with this mostly dry spring to date will encourage more milo or wheat, dry land crops, than water intensive crops of corn or soybeans. More so further west into Kansas, less so further east or north into Missouri or Iowa. Spring 2014 cattle pasture coming in poor due to lack of rain combined with last year's regional irregular hay production may limit current price motivated increased cattle production in some areas.
Winter snow ground accumulation does not factor in to this analysis. All snow has melted to runoff or evaporated before soil warmed to accept moisture.
Predictions on deer fawn survival or pheasant/quail nesting brooding success are too early. April will tell us more.
At this pont being below average on rainfall is considered a negative for food/cover production. Favorable for wildlife reproduction success.
NOAA's Climate Prediction Center remains noncommittal.