USDA: Condition Improve for Planting in Canada

May 22, 2013 02:27 AM

The following global crop and weather highlights from USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility are a helpful snapshot of global conditions:

  • EUROPE: A developing 2 to 4 weeks slower than normal due to a record-cold March. Dry weather promoted spring crop planting in England and northern France, where many producers likely had to switch to spring grains and oilseeds after an unfavorably wet autumn. Meanwhile, rain boosted soil moisture for winter grains in central France and southern portions of Germany and the Balkans. However, late-month heat (30-35°C) in the Danube River Valley caused some crop stress in areas that did not receive rainfall. Across the remainder of southern Europe, persistent rainfall in northern Italy soaked soils and set the stage for May flooding, while near-normal rainfall in Spain maintained excellent yield prospects for winter wheat and barley.

  • FSU-WESTERN: A summer-like weather pattern resulted in above- normal temperatures along with scattered showers and thunderstorms across most of the region. A large, stationary area of high pressure centered over western Kazakhstan and the southern Volga District maintained a hot, southerly flow. Temperatures averaged 5 to 10°C above normal, with daytime highs eclipsing 30°C (locally as high as 34°C) over most growing areas. The heat was also accompanied by scattered showers and thunderstorms, although amounts were highly variable. Totals were highest (10-50 mm) from central and eastern Ukraine into southwestern portions of Russia’s Southern District; in these key winter wheat areas, the rain provided much-needed soil moisture as crops approach the heading stage of development. Nevertheless, not all key crop regions received rainfall. Hot, mostly dry conditions stressed winter grains in northern portions of the Southern District as well as neighboring portions of the Central and Volga Districts. In particular, long- and short-term drought remained a concern in northern portions of the Southern District, where 90-day precipitation has totaled less than 50 percent of normal. During April, drier- and warmer-than-normal weather in Ukraine and southern Russia reduced soil moisture for vegetative winter grains. Dryness was most pronounced (less than 50 percent of normal) in eastern Ukraine and adjacent portions of the Central and Southern Districts in Russia. Daytime highs in these dry areas approached 30°C by month’s end, a harbinger of early May heat. In contrast, occasional rain and near-normal temperatures in Belarus and northern Russia favored greening winter crops.

  • FSU-EASTERN: Cool, showery conditions prevailed, in sharp contrast to the summer-like weather occurring just west of the region. A series of fast-moving cold fronts triggered light to moderate showers (2-30 mm) in spring wheat districts of northern Kazakhstan and southern Russia. The rain slowed planting but maintained favorable moisture reserves for crop development. However, the rain largely bypassed the southern Urals District, where somewhat warmer conditions (highs middle 20s degrees C) prevailed. Cotton planting in the southern portions of the region proceeded with minimal interruption, although localized showers (up to 10 mm) fell in eastern Uzbekistan. During April, wet, warm weather prevailed in most growing areas. Rain for the month totaled 25 to locally more than 60 mm in northern Kazakhstan as well as the southern Urals and southwestern Siberia Districts (200 percent of normal or more). Consequently, fieldwork, including early spring wheat planting, proceeded slowly. In southern cotton areas, locally heavy showers and thunderstorms (50-175 mm) boosted irrigation reserves but slowed field preparations in advance of May planting.

  • MIDDLE EAST: A stationary area of high pressure over Eurasia caused Mediterranean storms to drift slowly across the Mideast, resulting in additional late-season rainfall. Rain totals averaged 10 to 50 mm (locally more) in Turkey, Syria, northern Iraq, and northwestern Iran, maintaining adequate to abundant soil moisture for reproductive to filling winter grains. However, crops are likely further along in development than normal due to a warm winter and spring, and the rain likely raised quality concerns in areas where wheat and barley were mature. Meanwhile, a much-needed respite from recent flooding in southern Iraq and southwestern Iran allowed producers to assess crop impacts and resume fieldwork. Late-season rainfall boosted moisture for vegetative to reproductive winter wheat in Turkey and Syria during April. Farther east, dry, warm weather accelerated winter grains through the filling stage and toward maturity in Iraq and Iran. However, unseasonably heavy rain arrived from the south toward month’s end, causing flooding and localized crop damage in southern Iraq and southwestern Iran. Despite the unusual late-season storm, winter grain prospects remained good to excellent across much of the Middle East.

  • NORTHWEST AFRICA: Unsettled weather returned to the region, although fieldwork delays were generally minor. A series of weak cold fronts swept across the region, generating occasional showers (5-25 mm) across northern portions of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. The showers slowed winter grain drydown and harvesting, although the heaviest rain (25–65 mm in north-central Algeria) fell outside of primary wheat and barley areas. Occasional showers slowed winter grain maturation and harvesting in April. Totals were highest in northwestern Algeria, where 170 mm likely caused localized flooding and increased quality concerns for filling wheat and barley. However, wheat and barley yield prospects remained good to excellent across the most of the region after a favorably wet winter-spring growing season.

  • SOUTH ASIA: Pre-monsoon showers (25-150 mm) prevailed across northeastern India (Assam) and Bangladesh, boosting moisture supplies for rice transplanting. Elsewhere in the region, rainfall was generally light (less than 10 mm) and brief. Seasonably hot weather continued, with daytime highs consistently above 40 ° C and occasionally topping 45 ° C. Most growers will await the monsoon rains before commencing widespread planting. Seasonably hot weather continued to build across India during the month of April, while periodic showers in eastern India provided an unseasonable boost to moisture supplies leading up to the start of the monsoon. Rice transplanting and cotton planting proceeded during the month in northern India, while growers elsewhere will await the start of the monsoon rains before beginning planting. Typically, the monsoon begins around the first week of June.

  • EAST ASIA: Generally dry conditions prevailed across the northern growing areas, while showers prevailed in the south. Hot, dry weather on the North China Plain aided maturation of winter wheat, with harvesting scheduled to begin during the first half of June. In northeastern China, early week showers (10-25 mm) maintained favorable moisture conditions, while drier weather the remainder of the week supported corn, rice, and soybean planting. The heaviest rainfall (25-100 mm) remained confined to southern China, benefiting corn, soybeans, and rice, but slowed winter rapeseed harvesting, which should finish up by month’s end. In April, seasonably dry weather prevailed for reproductive winter wheat on the North China Plain, although irrigation supplies remained adequate. April rainfall was confined to areas south of the Yangtze River and was generally below normal, prompting increased irrigation for spring rice and corn as well as early planted cotton. Ripening winter rapeseed, however, benefited from the drier-than-usual month. Meanwhile, cold, snowy weather in northeastern China prevented early field preparations but provided increasingly favorable soil moisture conditions.

  • SOUTHEAST ASIA: Showers (25-50 mm, locally more) increased across portions of the northern and western Philippines, prompting rapid seasonal rice transplanting. Similar amounts in southern Vietnam boosted moisture supplies for vegetative summer rice. Pre-monsoon rain (25-50 mm) continued in the Northeast Region of Thailand, increasing moisture supplies for rice transplanting. Dry weather, however, continued in the Central Plains Region, where growers await consistent rainfall before beginning widespread planting. Generally below-normal rainfall prevailed in the region during April, benefiting rice harvesting in portions of Java, Indonesia, and field preparations in parts of the Philippines. However, the unseasonable dryness was unfavorable for winter-spring rice in northern Vietnam.

  • AUSTRALIA: In southern Queensland and northern New South Wales, widespread showers (generally 5-25 mm) slowed summer crop harvesting and winter crop planting, but the rain helped winter crop germination and emergence. Farther south, widespread showers (generally 10-25 mm) in southeastern Australia provided a much-needed boost in topsoil moisture throughout a large portion of the wheat belt, aiding wheat, barley, and canola development. Because of the recent dryness in southeastern Australia, many farmers were reportedly waiting for rain to arrive before sowing winter grains and oilseeds. This rain likely triggered extensive planting in its wake. Elsewhere in the wheat belt, scattered showers (5-10 mm, locally more) in Western Australia continued to benefit winter grains and oilseeds, maintaining good early season crop prospects. Temperatures in the Australia wheat belt were generally seasonable, averaging within 1 ° C of normal in most areas with maximum temperatures in the upper teens to lower 20s degrees C in most areas. In April, mostly dry weather in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales favored cotton and sorghum maturation and harvesting. Below-normal rainfall in southern and western Australia favored fieldwork, including early winter grain and oilseed planting, but more rain was needed to help germination.

  • SOUTH AFRICA: In April, periods of unseasonable wetness increased moisture for winter grains. In the main eastern production areas, including the corn belt and KwaZulu-Natal, most of the rain came during a relatively brief period at mid-month. The rain came too late in the season to significantly benefit corn and other rain-fed summer crops, and also disrupted early harvesting of sugarcane, but the moisture will ultimately benefit winter grains. Monthly temperatures averaged near to below normal; temperatures occasionally approached freezing in outlying corn production areas but no killing freeze was reported. Similarly, periodic showers in Western Cape boosted moisture for germination and establishment of winter wheat, which is typically planted in April and May.

  • ARGENTINA: Cool, showery weather slowed fieldwork after more than a week of favorable warmth and dryness. Rain (greater than 10 mm) developed at mid-week in the main growing areas of central Argentina ahead of a cold front that ushered cooler weather into the region. Daytime highs in the lower and middle 20s (degrees C) at the beginning of the week gave way to highs in the teens, with freezing conditions recorded as far north as central Cordoba after the front’s passage. In the northeast (areas north and east of northern Santa Fe), heavier rain (25-100 mm) fell during the early part of the week, raising concern for quality of unharvested cotton in key production areas in and around eastern Chaco. According to Argentina’s Ministry of Agriculture, corn and soybeans were 61 and 85 percent harvested, respectively, ahead of last year’s pace for both crops. In April, early month wetness sustained a slow pace of corn and soybean harvesting and caused some localized flooding. Monthly rainfall in excess of 200 mm was recorded from eastern Cordoba to northeastern Buenos Aires, much of it coming during this wet spell. However, rain was less frequent for the remainder of the month, and extended periods of dryness improved conditions for fieldwork. In contrast, mostly dry weather prevailed for the entire month of April in the northwest (Santiago del Estero, Salta, and western sections of Chaco and Formosa), limiting moisture for late-planted summer crops but promoting drydown and harvesting of cotton and other maturing crops. Monthly temperatures averaging 1 to 2°C above normal aided the drying process throughout the region, fostering drydown of summer grains, oilseeds, and cotton. Occasional frost was recorded during the first half of the month but no widespread freezes were reported.

  • BRAZIL: Showers increased moisture for immature crops in southern Brazil, as seasonal drying expanded farther north. Rainfall totaling 10 to 100 mm spread from central Mato Grosso do Sul to Rio Grande do Sul, increasing moisture for immature row crops. The moisture was especially beneficial for secondary (safrinha) corn in Parana after several weeks of below-normal rainfall. Weekly temperatures averaged near to below normal in the south, with nighttime lows falling below 5°C in some farming areas and daytime highs below 25°. Warm, seasonably dry weather prevailed farther north, with little to no rain recorded from Mato Grosso and Sao Paulo to the northeastern interior. Daytime highs reached 35°C in traditionally warmer locations of Mato Grosso and Tocantins, hastening development of safrinha corn and cotton. Above-normal temperatures were also recorded in the southeast (notably Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais), though less stressful warmth (daytime highs in the upper 20s and lower 30s degrees C) aided development of coffee, sugarcane, and citrus. Meanwhile, seasonal rains increased along the northeastern coast, providing moisture for sugarcane and cocoa. In April, early month wetness slowed fieldwork but maintained mostly favorable levels of moisture for secondary (safrinha) corn and cotton. Drier conditions prevailed during the remainder of the month, however, spurring late-season crop development and allowing delayed fieldwork, including sugarcane harvesting and the final stages of the soybean harvest, to resume. Southern farming areas (Mato Grosso do Sul and Sao Paulo to Rio Grande do Sul) received virtually no rain during the drier second half of the month, temporarily reducing moisture for safrinha corn. Farther north, rainfall diminished at a more gradual pace in the Center West Region and northeastern interior (Mato Grosso to western Bahia) as the summer rainy season approached its end. In contrast, rainfall intensified toward the end of the month along the northeastern coast, signaling a shift in the seasonal rainfall pattern. April temperatures were near to slightly above normal throughout the main agricultural areas, spurring development of immature row crops and coffee and aiding drydown of sugarcane and other crops ready for harvest.

  • MEXICO: Seasonal rain increased throughout the east, providing timely moisture for planting corn and other rain-fed summer crops. Amounts in excess of 10 mm boosted topsoil moisture for corn and sugarcane in eastern sections of the southern plateau (Guanajuato and Puebla northward to Nuevo Leon), with locally heavier amounts (25-50 mm) improving local reservoir reserves. Scattered showers (locally in excess of 10 mm) also spread from Sonora to Coahuila but the rest of the region remained dry, including crop areas along the southern Pacific Coast (Michoacan to Oaxaca) and the Yucatan Peninsula, which should be receiving seasonal rains. The dryness along the western Pacific Coast (Sinaloa and Nayarit) favored seasonal fieldwork, including crop harvesting, but rain would be welcome in Jalisco for corn planting. Seasonal rain developed in eastern agricultural areas during the latter part of April, although amounts were mostly below normal. Showers were generally patchy and light (monthly accumulations below 25 mm) in eastern sections of the southern plateau; the rainfall helped to condition fields for planting but amounts were likely insufficient for uniform germination in most areas. Similar conditions were recorded on the Yucatan Peninsula. Western sections of the corn belt, including Jalisco, Mexico’s largest producer of summer corn, remained dry, as did most farming areas along the southern Pacific Coast (Michoacan to Oaxaca). Unseasonably heavy rain fell in the northeast at month’s end, boosting irrigation reserves from Tamaulipas to Coahuila but coming too late for rain-fed winter sorghum. Mostly dry weather dominated the remainder of the north, aiding harvesting of winter wheat and other rain-fed winter-grown crops. As a result of the late start to the rainy seasonal, monthly average temperatures were near to above normal, with the highest departures (+2°C) occurring from the southern plateau to the central interior.

  • CANADIAN PRAIRIES: Warm, mostly dry weather continued, improving conditions for spring fieldwork. Weekly temperatures averaged 2 and 5°C above normal, with daytime highs reaching 30°C in some areas. Despite the warmer conditions, freezes were common, especially in Manitoba, where lows fell below -5°C. Precipitation totaled more than 10 mm in parts of Manitoba and in northern sections of Saskatchewan, keeping some areas too wet for fieldwork. However, showers were generally scattered and light (less than 5 mm) in Alberta and western and southern sections of Saskatchewan, promoting spring grain and oilseed planting. Unseasonably cold weather and a late snow melt inhibited early planting of spring grains and oilseeds, which typically begins toward the end of April. Most northern and eastern agricultural districts entered the month with a relatively deep, high-moisture content snow cover. Monthly temperatures averaging 4 to 8°C below normal across the Prairies slowed melting and, except for the southwest (southern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan), most areas still had snow in early May. Precipitation ranged from near to above normal in Alberta and western Saskatchewan to below normal in western Manitoba; crop districts east of the Red River Valley were wetter-than-normal. In the southwest, the above-normal precipitation provided timely moisture for germination of spring grains and oilseeds. Elsewhere, the precipitation added to the already late snow cover, though some


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