USDA Monthly World Weather Highlights

January 12, 2012 03:34 AM

As part of the monthly USDA S&D Report, USDA Joint Ag Weather Facility has issued the following weather highlights:


  • UNITED STATES: During December, mostly dry weather prevailed from the Pacific Coast into the north-central U.S. In California and neighboring areas, extremely dry conditions stunted pasture growth and raised concerns about sub-par spring and summer runoff from meager mountain snow packs. On the northern Plains, mild, dry weather left winter wheat exposed to potential weather extremes. In contrast, widespread precipitation boosted high-elevation snow packs and benefited winter wheat and drought-damaged pastures and rangeland from Arizona to the southern half of the Plains. Wetness also extended into parts of the Midwest, where producers in the eastern Corn Belt continued to wait for fields to freeze before being able to proceed with final corn harvest efforts. Elsewhere, highly variable conditions existed across the Southeast, ranging from wet weather in the Mid-South to dryness in the southern Atlantic region and along the central Gulf Coast.

  • SOUTH AMERICA: In December and early January, an intensifying drought generated stress on corn and other reproductive summer crops throughout Argentina, and to a lesser extent in parts of southern Brazil. Oppressive heat accompanied the dryness, with daytime highs exceeding 40°C in traditionally highyielding summer grain and oilseed areas of central Argentina. On January 10, much-needed rain was advancing on the region, bringing some relief to soybeans and later-planted corn that could still benefit from a return to more seasonable conditions.

  • EUROPE: In December, unseasonably warm, wet weather maintained favorable soil moisture reserves for vegetative to dormant winter grains and oilseeds from England and France into western Poland and the northern Balkans. In contrast, unfavorably dry conditions settled over Spain, reducing soil moisture for wheat and barley establishment. Dry weather also prevailed in northern Italy, increasing irrigation demands. At month’s end, most of the continent remained devoid of snow cover, leaving winter crops exposed to potential incursions of bitter cold.

  • FSU-WESTERN: A mild, wet December boosted soil moisture reserves from Belarus and central Ukraine into central and northern Russia. Winter crops were dormant, although grains and oilseeds likely lost cold hardiness in western and southern portions of the region. At month’s end, Belarus and Ukraine were uncharacteristically devoid of a protective snow cover, while a shallow to moderate snowpack insulated winter grains in Russia against potential bitter cold.

  • NORTHWESTERN AFRICA: After a favorably wet fall, drier conditions settled over the region in December. Dry weather in Morocco reduced soil moisture for winter wheat establishment. Showers were more consistent in Algeria and Tunisia, where crop prospects remained favorable.

  • MIDDLE EAST AND TURKEY: In December, wetter-than-normal conditions boosted soil moisture for winter crop establishment in Turkey and Syria. Farther east, dry weather settled over Iraq and Iran after a favorably wet autumn, reducing soil moisture for wheat and barley. Most of the region remained devoid of a protective snow cover.

  • SOUTH ASIA: In India, seasonably warm, dry weather favored cotton harvesting throughout December, despite reports of significant delays in arrivals. Meanwhile, cool weather benefited vegetative winter wheat and rapeseed in northern India as well as winter wheat in northern Pakistan. A late-season tropical cyclone brought additional moisture to many rabi rice areas in eastern India.

  • EASTERN ASIA: Mild conditions prevailed through much of December, with intrusions of colder air occurring late in the month. Winter wheat and rapeseed were well hardened and able to withstand the colder weather. Also, despite little ? if any ? rainfall across the North China Plain and the Yangtze Valley, moisture reserves remained adequate, as water utilization for winter crops was at a seasonally low level.

  • SOUTHEAST ASIA: During December, well-above-normal rainfall continued across the Philippines. A late-season tropical cyclone in Mindanao raised concerns about corn prospects. In Vietnam, unfavorably cool weather in the north slowed rice development, while above-normal rainfall maintained good moisture supplies for rice in the Mekong Delta. Meanwhile, moisture conditions remained favorable for rice in Indonesia.

  • AUSTRALIA: In December, frequent showers in eastern Australia hampered late winter wheat harvesting but maintained abundant moisture supplies for cotton and sorghum development. In southern and western Australia, two relatively brief periods of heavy rain delayed fieldwork, but dry weather during the remainder of the month allowed wheat, barley, and canola harvesting to near completion.

  • SOUTH AFRICA: In December, warm, showery weather maintained mostly favorable conditions for emerging to vegetative corn in the country’s main production areas. Beneficial rain also sustained favorable crop prospects in rain-fed sugarcane areas of KwaZulu-Natal.


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