Martell: Drought Persists in U.S. Breadbasket

November 26, 2012 04:52 AM

The following content was provided by meteorologist Gail Martell of 

Drought Persists in U.S. Breadbasket

Drought continues to plague hard red winter wheat. Rainfall last week was virtually non-existent despite a cold front pressing through the heartland, dropping temperatures 20-25 degrees. Hard red winter wheat conditions November 18 were the worst in 28 years, since USDA record keeping began.

A ridge of high pressure is expected to build up over the U.S. heartland this week, causing a stable atmosphere and warming temperatures. A trough of low pressure would persist offshore from the Northwest, spinning out waves of showers into Northern California, Oregon and Washington.

US Rainfall Outlook

No rain is predicted in hard red winter wheat this week. The Climate Prediction Center keeps the same pattern in the 6-10 day forecast, wet in Northwest United States, dry in the heartland.

United Kingdom Flooding, Rain Relief Southeast Europe

The jet stream persistent ridges and troughs extend halfway around the Northern Hemisphere into Europe. Anomalous wet weather has re-developed in United Kingdom, Europe’s 3rd large wheat producing nation, stalling planting. Winter wheat sowing was reportedly only two-thirds complete in late November. This points to another reduced wheat harvest in 2013. The summer crop this year made only 14.5 million metric tons and 12% below last year. Wet weather is attributed to a persistent trough of low pressure offshore in the northeast Atlantic Ocean.

Europe July Sept Rainfall

The jet stream forecast is ominous for more rain in Western Europe, not only United Kingdom but also France, Spain and Italy where rains have been heavy in November.

Southeastern Europe received beneficial heavy rain recently, improving topsoil moisture for winter wheat development. Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary experienced a severe drought last summer, resulting in poor corn production, down 40-45% from last season. Drought lingered on into the fall. Growers were grateful from increased rainfall the past 4-6 weeks. Soil moisture has improved for winter wheat development.

Russia Southern Wheat Drought Continues

Further east in Southern Russia, the drought persists. Very dry fall weather has persisted on the heels of a dry summer. Only 11 millimeters of rain occurred in the past month, compared to 36 mm on average, in the four districts that produce 62% of Russia winter wheat. The 90-day rainfall is only 42% of normal.

European Russia 30 Day Rainfall

Drought in southern Russia is much the same as U.S. hard red winter wheat beginning in the summer and continuing into fall. Soil profiles are dry through a deep layer, not likely to be fully replenished. Even 25 millimeters of rainfall would not be enough to boost wheat development, due to sub-soil drought. Indeed, Russia's southern wheat drought is very similar to the United States Great Plains in duration and intensity.



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