Although rainfall during May was lower than normal over much of the country, soil moisture levels in many areas improved during the month. However, the east of both the North and South Islands was still drier than normal by the end of the month, and much of the North Island was drier than at this time last year.
Higher than normal rain in northern Northland and in parts of the southeast of the South Island lifted soil moisture to near saturation at times in the second half of the month.
Soil moisture deficit in the pasture root zone at the end of May (right) compared with the deficit at the same time last year (centre) and the long term end of May average (left). The analysis is done for an average soil type where the available water capacity is taken to be 150 mm.