Most soils at field capacity…drier weather will be welcome

Heavy rain over recent weeks has lead to a quick deterioration in conditions for field work. Even where ground conditions were suitable, weather has not been appropriate for spraying, between rainfall and strong winds.

As drier weather is on the way the good news is that soil and air temperatures are relatively high.

Soil moisture deficits

Soil moisture deficits (SMDs) as of Monday, March 18 were at capacity across the majority of the country, while many poorly drained soils were at saturation point.

Well-drained soils were at field capacity in the majority of areas. However, soils in the Dublin region, as well as counties Wexford and Cork, were reading at 1 and 2, meaning they were below field capacity.

Moderately-drained soils told a similar story. Counties Dublin, Wexford and Cork were below field capacity, while these soil types in the Carlow area were just at field capacity.

A line could be drawn from Co. Louth to Co. Cork, to the west of this line soils were over field capacity and ranged between -1 and -6.

Data source:

Poorly-drained soils were at saturation point in the west, north west and midlands. Moving to the south and south east of the country conditions were only slightly better with values ranging between -7 and -9.


Average soil temperatures from March 12 to 18 ranged from 5.9° to 8.8°. The majority of soils were above a temperature of 7°, ideal for spring growth.

Mean air temperatures for the same period were between 6.7° and 8.4°.