Soil Management Can Maximize Water Availability

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Adequate water is critical for crops to reach their yield potential. In North Carolina, periods of insufficient rainfall occur frequently, causing drought conditions for many farms across the state. Although regular, adequate rainfall is important, the ability of the soil to absorb water and store it for plant use between rainfall events is also critical.

Soil physical properties determine how much water enters the soil and to what extent that water is stored. They also influence how well the soil will promote root growth and allow access to the stored water. Many of these factors can be influenced by the grower through soil management. Proper soil management will maximize the availability of water and provide the best opportunity for adequate water during periods of low rainfall.

Joshua L. Heitman
Jeffrey G. White
NC Coorporative Extension