UNITED STATES: For many areas east of the Rockies, particularly across the Midwestern and Mid-Atlantic States, February was the coldest month during the winter of 2012-13. Warmth continued, however, across the Deep South, from southern Texas to Florida’s peninsula, where some early planting activities and blooming were noted by the end of February.
Precipitation highlights included heavy rain in the lower Southeast and several late-winter storms across the Plains and Midwest. Southeastern storms led to some record-high February precipitation totals and lowland flooding. However, rainfall largely bypassed Florida’s peninsula, where producers continued to irrigate citrus and other crops. Across the Plains and Midwest, the highest-impact storms struck during the second half of the month. The storms produced heavy, wind-driven snow in various parts of the central and southern Plains and Midwest, stressing livestock and disrupting travel, but providing beneficial topsoil moisture and insulation for drought-stressed rangeland, pastures, and winter wheat.
Elsewhere, drier-than-normal weather dominated during February across southern Texas and nearly all areas west of the Rockies. In fact, disappointing amounts of precipitation have fallen across much of the West since the beginning of 2013, increasing water-supply concerns from California to the central and southern Rockies.
SOUTH AMERICA: Since mid-February, rain has helped to stabilize the condition of late-planted corn and soybeans in previously dry sections of central Argentina. Rain also benefited summer grains, oilseeds, and cotton across much of northern Argentina. In Brazil, a drying trend accompanied by occasional heat reduced moisture for soybeans and cotton in key production areas of the northeastern interior. In contrast, timely showers improved conditions for soybeans and corn in southern Brazil, following extended periods of January dryness.
EUROPE: Below-normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation maintained favorable prospects for dormant winter grains and oilseeds across central and northern Europe during February. Conversely, winter wheat began to break dormancy in the Balkans, where wet, mild weather prevailed. Across the remainder of southern Europe, vegetative winter wheat and barley benefited from near-normal temperatures and above-normal rainfall.
FSU WESTERN: Unseasonably warm weather overspread the region during February, with above-normal precipitation in the north contrasting with dry conditions in the south. The warmth encouraged early spring grain planting in southern portions of Ukraine and Russia and eased winter grains out of dormancy. Crops in the north remained dormant under a moderate to deep snowpack, despite the above-normal temperatures.
NORTHWESTERN AFRICA: In February, above-normal rainfall in Tunisia and Algeria maintained excellent prospects for vegetative winter wheat and barley. In contrast, drier-than-normal conditions settled over Morocco; however, rain returned to Morocco by month’s end, sustaining favorable yield prospects for winter grains. Temperatures were below normal, although there were no hard freezes in primary crop areas.
MIDDLE EAST AND TURKEY: During February, wet, mild weather boosted soil moisture for dormant (north) to vegetative (south) winter wheat and barley in Turkey and Syria. Drier-than-normal conditions settled over Iraq and Iran, although moisture reserves remained adequate for winter crop growth heading into the spring.
SOUTH ASIA: Unseasonably heavy and widespread rainfall occurred in India during February. In northern India, the rainfall provided significant additional moisture to irrigated filling winter wheat, but offered little additional benefit to maturing rapeseed. In southern India, above-normal rainfall for the month boosted moisture supplies for rabi rice and groundnuts, but likely came too late to bolster yield potential.
EASTERN ASIA: Near-normal rainfall and temperatures during February aided overwintering wheat, as well as rapeseed that was greening by month’s end. Despite below-normal rainfall in minor producing areas of southwestern China, yield prospects remained favorable for winter grains and oilseeds. Similarly, below-normal rainfall in southern China did little to hamper early rice transplanting toward the end of February.
SOUTHEAST ASIA: Rainfall was generally near normal across Java, Indonesia, for February, maintaining abundant moisture supplies, but persistent rains slowed rice maturation. In the Philippines, excessive rainfall caused flooding in the east and south. However, damage to rice and corn was likely localized, and prospects remained favorable for the first half of the year. In Vietnam, winter-spring rice harvesting was underway in the south under favorably dry weather.
AUSTRALIA: Following extreme heat in January, occasional showers and seasonably warm weather favored summer crop development in February. The showers helped maintain local moisture supplies for immature cotton and sorghum, while periods of dry weather aided maturation of the earliest planted crops.
SOUTH AFRICA: In February, unseasonable warmth and dryness reduced prospects of reproductive summer crops in western sections of the corn belt. A drying trend also affected the eastern corn belt, but conditions were mostly favorable due to beneficial rain through the early part of the month and the lack of stressful heat. Warm, showery weather aided development of rain-fed sugarcane in KwaZulu-Natal.