What the winter drought could mean for this spring

Local News

The entire state of North Dakota is in some type of drought — with most of it in a severe drought.

We spoke to an extension agent from the NDSU Extension Center on what this means for farmers and ranchers.

Paige Brummund says this is one of the third driest seasons on record ever.

While we may be thinking the snow provides moisture to the soil, she says that’s a big misconception.

She says the soil is still frozen during winter, so the snow doesn’t saturate it as much as we think.

It does, however, replenish the streams and ponds which is good for ranchers.

“What we’re seeing right now is extremely dry conditions both in that top layer of soil, but also we’ve depleted the moisture in our sub-soil. So, it’s going to take more rain, and longer soaking rains and more amounts of rain to recharge that soil moisture,” Brummund said.

Brummund says if we don’t get the long soaking rains in the spring, farmers may have to plant crops that require less moisture and ranchers may have to change their grazing schedule.

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