USDA's Foreign Ag Service (FAS) says the planting of spring crops, which includes corn and spring wheat, began in early February in southern China, but has been delayed in the northeast section due to unusually cool and wet conditions.
Meanwhile, FAS notes persistent drought has lowered water levels in rivers and reservoirs in Yunnan and other provinces in Southwest China: some cropland could not be planted, and spring-sown crops in the highlands are under stress. "Heavy rain in parts of southeast China may have had a minor impact on early rice sowing, but no flooding has occurred. Spring sowing in central China and the North China Plain should be progressing normally, given current moderate temperatures and fair to good soil moisture conditions," it states.
The latest precipitation forecast by the NOAA Climate Prediction Center (April 9-22, 2013) calls for normal rainfall on the North China Plain, drier weather in the Yangtze River Basin and additional rainfall in southern China, with the possibility of rain in the drought-stricken southwest.