USDA: Mild Weather Promotes Greenup Across FSU

March 6, 2013 12:16 AM

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

    • EUROPE: A large, nearly stationary area of high pressure brought cold, mostly dry weather to central and northern Europe. A weakening storm system drifted south across western Europe, with lingering snow and freezing rain changing to rain. Precipitation totals were generally light (mostly less than 5 mm), with somewhat higher amounts (5-20 mm) in southern Germany and north- central France. In the storm’s wake, a broad area of high pressure brought dry, cold conditions (2-6°C below normal) to western Europe, keeping winter grains and oilseeds dormant in England, France, and Germany. However, freezes may have caused some burnback to vegetative winter wheat and barley in Spain, although the cold was not intense enough to cause widespread freeze damage. Meanwhile, a Mediterranean storm was accompanied by widespread rain (10-50 mm) and above-normal temperatures (daytime highs reaching 10-15°C) in the Balkans, promoting early greening of winter grains. Showers (5-15 mm) were also reported in Italy, where winter wheat prospects remained favorable due to abundant winter precipitation.

    • FSU-WESTERN: Mostly dry, mild weather prevailed, promoting early season fieldwork in southern crop districts. An area of high pressure across the southern half of the region maintained warmer-than-normal weather (3-5°C above normal) in Ukraine and Russia’s Southern District, encouraging additional greening of winter grains while encouraging producers to sow spring grains several weeks earlier than normal. Mild weather expanded north, with temperatures up to 5°C above normal in the Volga District causing some snow melt. At week’s end, snow depths averaged 10 to 30 cm from Belarus and northern Ukraine into Russia’s Volga District, while primary southern winter wheat areas remained snow free.

    • MIDDLE EAST: A Mediterranean storm maintained wet, mild weather in the region. Rain and high elevation snow totaled 5 to 25 mm (liquid equivalent) from Turkey into northern portions of Iraq and Iran. Temperatures for the week averaged up to 5°C above normal, which coupled with the favorable moisture encouraged additional greening of winter grains in the north and promoted winter wheat and barley growth in the south. Conditions so far in the 2012-13 growing season have been excellent, with minimal winterkill and abundant precipitation, even in the typically drier southern irrigated farming areas.

    • NORTHWEST AFRICA: The favorable growing season continued, as additional rain benefited vegetative winter grains. A slow- moving storm system generated widespread showers (5-50 mm) from northern Morocco into Algeria and Tunisia, maintaining excellent prospects for wheat and barley. However, rain bypassed southwestern Morocco, limiting soil moisture for winter crops in this relatively small production area. Temperatures averaged up to 4°C below normal, with nighttime freezes raising the possibility of some burnback to vegetative winter crops in Algeria.

    • SOUTHEAST ASIA: Beneficially drier weather prevailed across western portions of Java, Indonesia, as rice harvesting was underway. Heavy showers (100-200 mm), however, continued in central and eastern Java, slowing rice maturation and harvesting. A similar pattern existed for oil palm, with southern Sumatra and western Kalimantan experiencing drier weather, while much of Malaysia and eastern Kalimantan continued to receive heavy rainfall (100-200 mm). Meanwhile, more seasonable rainfall (50- 150 mm) returned to the Philippines after last week’s deluge. In Vietnam, winter-spring rice harvesting was underway in the south, benefited by warm, dry weather.

    • AUSTRALIA: Widespread, soaking rains (50-100 mm or more) in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales disrupted fieldwork and slowed maturation of the earliest planted summer crops. However, the wet weather benefited crops that were planted later in the growing season, maintaining yield prospects for immature cotton and sorghum. The weather in major summer crop producing areas was relatively cool: temperature averaged 1 to 2 ° C below normal, with maximum temperatures generally in the middle 20s to lower 30s degrees C.

    • SOUTH AFRICA: Scattered showers brought some relief from several weeks of unseasonable warmth and dryness. Rainfall totaled 10 to 25 mm across most of the corn belt, though a few locations recorded more than 25 mm. These included white corn areas of North West, where daytime highs in the upper 30s (degrees C) stressed reproductive to filling corn prior to the onset of the rain, as well as outlying production areas of Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal. In general, weekly temperatures averaged 1 to 3°C above normal, with daytime highs reaching the lower 30s even in the traditionally milder eastern sections of the corn belt (in and around southern Mpumalanga). Elsewhere, moderate to heavy rain (15-50 mm) boosted moisture for rain-fed sugarcane in KwaZulu-Natal and nearby locations in Eastern Cape. Warm, mostly dry weather dominated the remainder of the Cape Provinces, aiding rapid development of irrigated summer row crops. Light showers (less than 5 mm) likely had little impact on harvesting of tree and vine crops in Western Cape.

    • ARGENTINA: Widespread, locally heavy rain improved prospects of later-planted corn and soybeans in key farming areas of central Argentina. Following several weeks of scattered showers that missed some production areas, multiple frontal passages produced rainfall in excess of 50 mm throughout La Pampa, Buenos Aires, Entre Rios, and southern sections of Cordoba and Santa Fe. Weekly average temperatures were 2 to 3°C below normal in the affected area, although daytime highs still reached the upper 20s and lower 30s (degrees C) on several days between the rain events. Nighttime lows fell below 5°C in some of the traditionally cooler locations of southern Buenos Aires, but no damage from frost was expected. Some of the rainfall reached northern Argentina, but amounts were generally lower than those recorded last week. In fact, little to no rain fell over a broad area stretching from northern Cordoba to western Formosa, including key cotton producing areas of Chaco, northern Santa Fe, and Santiago del Estero, which recorded abundant rainfall last week. Weekly temperatures averaged up to 2°C above normal in some of these drier areas, with daytime highs approaching 40°C.

    • BRAZIL: Beneficial rain covered most major summer grain, oilseed, and cotton areas. Rainfall was highly variable in the south, with most areas recording at least 25 mm; exceptions included Rio Grande do Sul and parts of Parana and Sao Paulo that received heavy rain last week. Weekly temperatures averaged within 1°C of normal, with daytime highs mostly in the lower 30s (degrees C) maintaining seasonable levels of crop growth and evapotranspiration. Elsewhere, heavy rain (50-150 mm) ended a dry spell from northeastern Mato Grosso do Sul to western Bahia, providing timely moisture for the region’s main-season corn, soybeans, and cotton. Heavy rain (greater than 100 mm) covered a large section of Mato Grosso, slowing soybean harvesting but boosting moisture reserves for planting second-season (safrinha) corn. Weekly average temperatures were 1 to 3°C above normal in central and northeastern Brazil, with daytime highs reaching the middle and upper 30s. Some of the highest temperatures were recorded in far northeastern Brazil, aiding harvesting of sugarcane and cocoa but further taxing irrigation reserves depleted by an extended period of unseasonable warmth and dryness.


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