North Island soils from Waikato south were much drier than normal by the end of January. The soil moisture deficit was particularly severe in eastern areas, Manawatu, and Horowhenua. Northern and eastern South Island regions also had severe soil moisture deficit. Significant rainfall during January improved the moisture levels in upper North Island soils.
Soil moisture deficit in the pasture root zone at the end of January (right) compared with the deficit at the same time last year (centre) and the long term end of January average (left). The analysis is done for an average soil type where the available water capacity is taken to be 150 mm.