Soil moisture

Moisture levels drop due to low rainfall

Unusually low rainfall in the north of the country resulted in low soil moisture levels by the end of March. Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, and Hawke’s Bay soils were drier than average, while Manawatu soils also had little moisture replenishment during the month. Soils on much of the South Island’s east coast were drier than normal.


Soil moisture deficit in the pasture root zone at the end of March (right) compared with the deficit at the same time last year (centre) and the long-term end of March average (left). The analysis is done for an average soil type where the available water capacity is taken to be 150 mm.