The following content was provided by meteorologist Gail Martell of MartellCropProjections.com:
As La Nina Weakens, Rainfall Increases in U.S. Heartland
The La Nina reached its peak in late January, weakening to ENSO-neutral in early April. Strong warming in the Nino 3.4 region of the Pacific Ocean indicates weakening, as the La Nina is a "cool episode." The eastern equatorial Pacific is now warmer than normal, as La Nina gradually weakened in recent weeks. Coolness lingers in the Central equatorial Pacific, however, suggesting aspects of La Nina are continuing.
The Southern Great Plains has received exceptionally good rainfall in April in Kansas and Oklahoma, the 2 leading hard red winter wheat states. This area is prone to drought when the La Nina is in effect. The Midwest has not been wet this spring; in fact, growers reported extremely low topsoil moisture in the April 8 USDA report.
Rainfall over the weekend was a big improvement, restoring field moisture in much of the corn belt west of the Mississippi River. Rains were rather disappointing in the Eastern Midwest corn states.
European Wheat Mediocre Outlook, Worse than Last Season
French analysts at Strategie Grains earlier this month reduced its estimate for the European Union soft wheat production to 126.8 million metric tons (MMT), down from last year’s 129.1 MMT. Wheat is not up to par in France and Germany, the top 2 wheat growing nations.
Analysts originally blamed winterkill for wheat losses, but drought also may have also have contributed to mediocre conditions. Hardly any rain occurred in March. February also was very dry. Rainfall has increased a bit in April, improving topsoil moisture for wheat growth. Yet the latest satellite vegetation image, valid April 1-10, still indicates a sub-par crop and much worse than last year.
The European Union is the largest wheat growing area in the world growing nearly 20% of world production and 16-18% of exports. Significant wheat exports come from the top exporting nations France, Germany and United Kingdom and to the deficit wheat countries in Central and Eastern Europe.
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