The following content was provided by meteorologist Gail Martell of MartellCropProjections.com:
Upper Midwest Drought Severe
Southern Minnesota has received only 3.4 inches of rainfall the past 10 weeks, leading to a 7-inch moisture deficit. This is very significant. Not only is a poor soybean yield expected on the USDA October report, due out Wednesday, but also low soil moisture is a worry for next year’s crop. The Upper Midwest receives more than one-third of annual precipitation between September and April, rain and snowmelt, required for replenishment of the deep soil layer. Minnesota "good-excellent" soybeans fell from 70% July 31 to 49% September 25 at the start of the harvest.
Argentina Corn Planting Stymied by Spring Dryness
Argentina corn was 17% planted September 29 and well behind normal. Unfavorable dry soil conditions were slowing progress. Seeding usually begins mid September, but unusually warm and dry conditions have been a hindrance. Temperatures last week were 9-10 F above normal in Cordoba and western Buenos Aires, key corn growing areas. The USDA predicts Argentina may produce 27.5 million metric tons of corn in 2010-11 and 25% higher than last season. Perhaps this is too optimistic. A strengthening La Nina may be to blame for unusually warm and dry spring weather. Argentina weather is particularly sensitive to La Nina drought in the spring and summer, from September to January. Sometimes, La Nina rapidly weakens mid summer, allowing pod filling soybeans to benefit from better rainfall in February and March.
Fall Drought Hampering Ukraine Wheat and Rapeseed
Incredibly dry weather has developed in the southern Ukraine hindering fall-planted winter wheat and rapeseed. The average rainfall in 9 southern Ukraine weather stations averaged only .59 inch in the 60 days August 7 - October 5, and just 19% of normal. This was based on cumulative rains in 9 weather stations in the southern Ukraine, the mostly intensely cultivated crop area.
Ukraine wheat production this summer 20.87 million metric tons was a 35% increase over 2010, when historic drought occurred. The roller coaster ride may continue with low production in 2012. Usually a bad beginning makes a poor ending in the northern latitudes. Wheat needs time to develop in the fall to prevent wind erosion in winter. Wheat also requires time to "harden" in order to avoid winter kill. The hourglass is running out for proper establishment. Temperatures drop off rapidly in the fall from 48-50 F in mid October to 38-40 F mid November. By December temperatures are usually below freezing.
EU-27 Wheat Production Matches 2010 Output
The top wheat producing countries in the European Community France and Germany had low yields, compared to last season, but an outstanding wheat harvest in Southeast Europe lifted production leading to a zero-sum game in 2011 versus 2010, 135.8 million metric tons compared to 135.6 MMT last year.
Severe spring drought caused wheat damage in France, the top producer, where production fell 8.4% year over year. Drought losses in Germany, were less extensive, down just 3.3%, but wheat quality suffered from heavy harvesting rains. The United Kingdom, the number 3 producer, turned out a very good crop despite intense spring dryness virtually matching last year’s output. The percent share of the "Big 3" wheat countries fell to 53% of EU-27 production versus 57% last year.