Lack of Rainfall and Soil Moisture Levels

When is it going to rain again?

Average rainfall v average from 2013 – 2018

A lot of people I’m talking to at the moment are studying the forecast to see when, if and how much rainfall is coming.

The above image shows the UK’s monthly rainfall compared to the 1981 -2010 average.

  • The white to blue colours show average – wetter than average
  • The brown colours show dryer than average

As you can see the last 12 months have been dominated by dryer than average weather. This has heavily impacted the South where these very dry periods have coincided with the highest periods of ET (Evapotranspiration).

ET figures from 2013 – 2018 at 4 locations in UK

ET is the sum of moisture lost through both Evaporation and Transpiration and during the summer months of June, July and August can be anywhere between 65mm to 110mm a month of moisture lost dependent on your position in the country and the weather. The above chart shows how the last two years the ET rates have been at their highest since 2013.

What are the issues associated with limited rainfall coupled with high ET?

  1. Unlikely to have sufficient moisture content in your soil to sustain healthy growth to recover from wear?
  2. Do you have good enough irrigation coverage to evenly replenish the rootzone without over watering other areas?
  3. Are your water sources being replenished at a sustainable rate compared to the rate you are using it at?
  4. Timings of application of crucial plant health products becomes very difficult.

The above image shows the river flows for the last 3 months and how the dry weather has impacted the flow of local rivers. The dryer areas are clearly reflected in the low flows to the East and South. This information is essential if your turf is reliant on an abstraction licence based on river flows.

These are really important stats to share with your membership / decision makers within the club. We are going into the period of the year when we will be losing around 65MM – 110mm of moisture of month with VERY low soil moisture already. At this point in time most of the UK has had less rainfall than this time last year.

This coupled with water sources that are flowing at lower than normal rates. It’s time for clubs to start thinking about how to secure their future by ensuring they have adequate water available for them to use.

Syngenta continue to look for solutions to help manage turf in these difficult periods. PrimoMaxxII, Ryder and Qualibra can all be used as part of an integrated program to help you through these periods.

All of the data and images were taken from the below MetOffice and Environment agency websites. These are fantastic resources to help you communicate the challenge to your membership.

For the Met Office weather click here >

And the Environment agency here.

And don’t forget the even better Greencast Weather Forecast.

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