In an era when a computer called Watson can defeat mere mortals at Jeopardy, it’s good to know that some things still work better with a human touch. In the latest edition of Grainews, long-time soil scientist Les Henry has come out with a stubble soil moisture map that’s superior to anything being generated by computer programs. Les uses precipitation information and common sense, plus he gets some soil probing done in areas where the data doesn’t seem to make sense. The Agriculture Ministries in Manitoba and Saskatchewan didn’t come out with their own soil moisture maps this year, because everything is pretty wet. However, Les thought there was still something to map that would be useful to the industry. He created a new category called super wet which refers to land where the crop rooting zone has moisture in excess of the normal field capacity and the water table is dangerously close to the soil surface. The eastern half of Manitoba is super wet, as is a band along the eastern side of Saskatchewan. The rest of Saskatchewan is either wet or moist, with the exception of a narrow strip along the Alberta border in West Central Saskatchewan that’s classified as dry. Alberta did produce a soil moisture map, which Les has adopted into his Prairie-wide approach. Most of Alberta is rated as dry when it comes to soil moisture.

I’m Kevin Hursh.

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