The ground type may change quite suddenly, which will have an impact on the capacity of that ground to retain moisture. Farmers are very aware of these contrasts, amongst others by noticing how their crops are doing.
“So next to the path, the ground is a lot better and then that changes in the upper part of the plot. During the drought years, you could see a difference in colour. So at the top you could see the winter barley getting dry, whilst at the bottom is was fine. That is because that part of the plot holds the humidity better and that probably has to do with the underground of the plot, so it has to do with the height but also with the texture of the soil. It may also have to do with the upper layer of the soil” (L, a farmer, may 2022).
For R., farmer's union representative for the area, this simultaneity of wet and dry within a small area represents a challenge quite specific to the area.
“A challenge around here is that we also have the sandy soils here, which are quite dry. Maybe you’ve seen how it’s quite dry around L’s farm? There, now, it’s too dry already. But then if you go a bit further down to the Scheldt, it’s too wet. So maybe that's also a difficulty: to find a balance between the dry sandy soils and then the wet clay soils, heavy soils, which are quite different. And you must find a balance to find a constant production on your farm” (May 2022).