In the North Island and northwest of the South Island, soils which were wetter than average at the end of November remained near or above field capacity for much of December. Levels of available soil moisture were unusually high for the time of year.
In the South Island, some east coast areas were drier than normal at the end of the month, while soils along the west coast were generally wetter than average.
Soils in Southland and south Otago contained ideal moisture content for pasture growth for much of the month.
Soil moisture deficit in the pasture root zone at the end of December (right) compared with the deficit at the same time last year (centre) and the long term end of December average (left). The analysis is done for an average soil type where the available water capacity is taken to be 150 mm.