Soil moisture in southern Africa in mid-April 2014. The image on the left is based on rain gauge data only. It shows that data gaps and lack of spatial variability limit the information that can be provided in large areas of Africa to monitor plant health. The more detailed image on the right includes soil moisture data from ESA’s SMOS mission, which are assimilated into the United States Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service forecasting system. This adds significant information in large areas of southern Africa.