Increasing Dryness Slows Winter Wheat Seeding in Australia

May 15, 2013 04:07 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility has provided the following weekly weather/crop highlights:

  • EUROPE: Widespread showers continued across the continent, although pockets of dryness lingered in northern and southeastern crop areas. Rainfall totaled 5 to 30 mm (locally higher amounts) from central France into southwestern Poland and western and northern portions of the Balkans. The rain maintained adequate to abundant soil moisture for winter grains and oilseeds but continued to slow corn, sunflower and sugarbeet planting. Moderate to heavy showers (30-95 mm) across Italy hampered summer crop planting and slowed winter wheat maturation. Meanwhile, sunny skies and above-normal temperatures (3-6°C above norm al) in the lower Danube River Valley reduced soil moisture for heading winter wheat but sustained a rapid summer crop planting pace. Rain also mostly bypassed northwestern Germany, where a dry March and April reduced soil moisture for wheat and rapeseed development. Dry weather in central and southern Spain favored winter grain maturation and drydown. In southeastern England, a dry start to the week allowed producers to sow additional spring grains and oilseeds, although windy, showery weather returned by week’s end.

  • FSU-WESTERN: Increasingly dry, warm conditions in the south contrasted with mild, wet weather in the north. Sunny skies and above-normal temperatures (up to 5°C above normal) prevailed across Ukraine and Russia’s Southern District, further reducing soil moisture for vegetative to reproductive winter wheat. However, the dry, warm weather (28-31°C) facilitated a rapid pace of fieldwork, including corn and sunflower planting. Meanwhile, widespread showers (5-35 mm) and near- to above-normal temperatures (1-3°C above normal) from Belarus into Russia’s Volga District maintained favorable growing conditions for vegetative winter grains and oilseeds.

  • MIDDLE EAST: An unusual spring storm slowly departed southern crop regions, while rain intensified across northern growing areas. The slow-moving, out-of-season storm system generated an additional 10 to 40 mm of rain (2-week rainfall totals as high as 125 mm) in southeastern Iraq and southwestern Iran, generating widespread lowland flooding and causing some damage to mature winter wheat and barley. The storm exited the region during the middle to latter part of the week, allowing flood waters to recede and providing producers an opportunity to assess crop impacts. The untimely heavy rain arrived as the nearly ideal growing season in Iraq and Iran was drawing to a close. Meanwhile, dry, warm weather in Turkey was replaced by increasingly stormy conditions by week’s end. Moderate to heavy showers and thunderstorms (locally more than 25 mm) provided late-season moisture for heading to filling winter wheat and barley. The rain, however, slowed cotton planting and other seasonal fieldwork across western and northern portions of the Middle East.

  • NORTHWEST AFRICA: Increasingly dry conditions arrived following late-season rainfall during the beginning of May. The return of sunny skies and near- to above-normal temperatures favored winter grain drydown and harvesting. Barring any untimely storms during the harvest campaign, 2012-13 winter grain yields will be good to excellent across the entire region.

  • EAST ASIA: Showers pushed through central and southern China during the first half of the week, while rainfall moved through the northeastern areas during the latter half. The late-week showers (25-50 mm) in northeastern China maintained abundant soil moisture and promoted germination and emergence of corn, soybeans, and fragrant rice. The recent rainfall, along with heavier than usual winter snow (particularly in Heilongjiang), provided excellent soil moisture to start the summer growing season. On the North China Plain, 10 to 25 mm of rain increased soil moisture for filling winter wheat, but likely offered little additional benefit to the crop this late in the season. Heavy showers (50-200 mm) south of the Yangtze Valley increased moisture supplies for corn, cotton, and main-season rice, but caused some localized flooding. Similar rainfall amounts within the valley, however, provided unfavorable wetness for ripening winter rapeseed and early season rice. Temperatures for the week averaged between 2°C above normal in the south to 7°C above normal in the northeast, promoting crop development in the absence of stressful heat. Elsewhere in the region, widespread rainfall between 20 and 30 mm increased moisture supplies for rice in Japan and on the Korean Peninsula, but totals for the month remained below normal.

  • SOUTHEAST ASIA: Pre-monsoon rains (25-60 mm, locally over 100 mm) persisted in much of northern and northeastern Thailand as well as much of Laos and Vietnam. The early rains encouraged rice transplanting in Thailand and Laos, but were likely unfavorable for ripening winter-spring rice in northern Vietnam. In the Phil ippines, most areas received 50 to 100 mm of rainfall for the week, with mostly dry weather in northern Luzon and the western Visayan Islands. Rainfall for the start of the summer growing season (beginning May 1) has been generally below normal in the region, although the summer monsoon does not typically begin until mid-May.

  • AUSTRALIA: Mostly dry, very warm weather persisted in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales, favoring cotton and sorghum harvesting. Although the dry weather enabled fieldwork, winter grain and oilseed planting may be slowing across this region because of increasing dryness in recent weeks. More rain is needed in these areas to help condition topsoils for additional planting and to help germination of recently sown crops. In sout heastern Australia, widely scattered, generally light showers (1-3 mm, locally near 10 mm) provided only a slight increase in topsoil moisture. Some farmers have reportedly dusted winter crops into relatively dry soils, while others are reportedly waiting to sow until significant rains arrive. Soaking rains are needed throughout southeastern Australia to promote more widespread planting. Farther west, welcome rains (5-35 mm, locally more) overspread the Western Australia wheat belt, aiding winter crop germination and emergence and likely spurring additional wheat, barley, and canola planting in the wake of these beneficial rains. Temperatures were generally seasonable in Western Australia, northeastern New South Wales, and southeastern Queensland. In southeastern Australia, unseasonably warm weather (temperatures approaching 30 degrees C in some areas) increased evaporative losses.

  • ARGENTINA: Mostly dry, unseasonably warm weather benefited corn and soybean harvesting, following last week’s locally heavy rain. Most areas recorded little to no rainfall though in the northeast (northern Santa Fe eastward), showers lingered early in the week and had return ed by week’s end. Cooler weather accompanied the rainy northeastern weather, but weekly temperatures averaged 2 to 3°C above normal from Buenos Aires and La Pampa northward to Salta, aiding drydown of maturing row crops. On several days during the week, daytime highs ranged from the middle and upper 20s (degrees C) in southern farming areas to the lower 30s in the north. Although brief periods of frosty weather (temperatures near or slightly below 0°C) were recorded in the south during the middle part of the week, no killing freeze occurred. According to Argentina’s Ministry of Agriculture, corn and soybeans were 57% and 74%, respectively, as of May 9, generally on par with last year’s pace.

  • BRAZIL: Dry, seasonably warm weather dominated much of southern and central Brazil, aiding development of immature crops and allowing seasonal fieldwork to proceed. Rain was generally confined to parts of southern Mato Grosso do Sul and Parana, as well as far northern production areas (northernmost Mato Grosso eastward through Tocantins), where 10 to 50 mm benefited immature secondary (safrinha) corn. Seasonal showers (5-25 mm) also continued along the northeastern coast, though amounts were significantly lower than in recent weeks. Otherwise, dry, sunny weather prevailed, spurring development of row crops, coffee, citrus, and sugarcane, and favoring harvesting of maturing crops. Weekly temperatures generally averaged within 1°C of normal, with daytime highs ranging from the middle and upper 20s (degrees C) in the south to the middle 30s in the warmest parts of Mato Grosso and Tocantins. On May 8, temperatures fell below 2°C from northeastern Rio Grande do Sul to southern Parana, possibly resulting in some localized frost but likely having no significant impact on immature safrinha corn.

  • MEXICO: Moisture remained limited for germination and establishment of rain-fed summer crops in the country’s main production areas. Showers diminished from the previous week along the northeastern coast, although a few locations recorded rainfall in excess of 10 mm from central Veracruz to Nuevo Leon. Rainfall was sparse (generally less than 5 mm) in eastern sect ions of the southern plateau and virtually non-existent in the west, as farmers await the start of the rainy season to plant corn and other rain-fed crops. Elsewhere, unseasonable dryness also continued along the southern Pacific Coast (Michoacan to Oaxaca) and in most of the Yucatan Peninsula. Meanwhile, light showers (less than 10 mm) overspread northern Mexico, with locally heavy rainfall (greater than 10 mm) boosting reservoirs in the Rio Grande Valley. Weekly temperatures averaged near to slightly above normal in northern Mexico, with daytime highs approaching 40°C in the northeast (eastern San Luis Potosi to eastern Coahuila) and in the vicinity of northern Sinaloa farther west. Similarly, temperatures averaged near to above normal across the southern plateau, although daytime highs only ranged from the upper 20s (degrees C) to the middle 30s.


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