Light versus heavy rainfall, which is more beneficial when it’s very dry?

September 21, 2022
Light or heavy rain, which is more beneficial
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 10:43 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Finally, some much needed rain will be falling over a large portion of the region the next 36 hours. Mostly a light to moderate rain. But what is the best pace for rain to fall in order to be beneficial when things are dry? You would think that the heavier rainfall the more we get in a short time, right? Well, that sounds all good and dandy but it really depends on the soil the rain is falling into. There are three main times of soil. sandy, loamy and clay. Sandy soil is very loose and has lots of space which keeps sand from holding large amounts of moisture. Clay is very compact and hard. And though it can hold moisture, it doesn’t let go of it very easily. Loamy, a mixture of sand and clay, is the better soil for planting as it has it can hold moisture well and give it away too. Looking at how far water will infiltrate into each type of soil, you’ll notice sand allows for water to quickly move downward while clay is very slow due to the higher density. A heavy rain over clay will just run away. Loam allows for water to infiltrate at a nice medium pace. Unfortunately, when things are really dry, water will just runoff a loam surface like it was clay. Here are the amounts it would take to wet each soil to a 12 inch depth. One inch for sand, one and half to two inches for loam and two and half inches for clay. As far as rain goes, it looks like the rain we are receiving now could be the only rain we see in a few weeks as the precipitation outlook through the first week of October has us leaning toward below average.