USDA Monthly World Weather Highlights

April 10, 2012 02:54 AM

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

  • UNITED STATES: The contiguous United States experienced its warmest March, breaking a record set in 1910. In fact, record-setting March warmth affected 25 states from the Plains to the East Coast. Meanwhile, below-normal temperatures were mostly confined to the Pacific Coast States. During March, little or no precipitation fell from the Southwest to the northern Plains. Unusually dry weather also prevailed in the Northeast and across Florida’s peninsula. In the latter region, producers utilized irrigation to limit drought stress on blooming citrus. In contrast, March storminess approximately doubled the water content of the high-elevation Sierra Nevada snowpack, slightly improving California’s water-supply prospects. East of the Rockies, winter wheat and fruit crops developed several weeks ahead of the normal pace, leaving many commodities vulnerable to spring freezes. By March 26-27, the first of several cool snaps arrived in the lower Great Lakes region and the Northeast, requiring producers to monitor fruit crops for signs of freeze injury. Elsewhere, March wetness chipped away at long-term drought across the south-central U.S., while showers provided some beneficial moisture in the Southeast. However, drought-related concerns persisted in several areas, including the southern High Plains and the lower Southeast.

  • SOUTH AMERICA: During March, mostly beneficial rain continued throughout Argentina’s main summer grain, oilseed, and cotton areas, aiding development of late-seeded corn and soybeans but arriving too late for most summer crops. Unseasonably cool weather briefly hampered crop development in a few southern production areas but no widespread freeze was recorded. In Brazil, warm, dry weather prevailed across southern growing areas for several weeks, reducing moisture for late-planted soybeans, secondary (safrinha) corn, and other crops. In addition, a drying trend likely reduced yield prospects of soybeans and other crops in some of the country’s more northerly growing areas, notably Bahia.

  • EUROPE: An abnormally dry March reduced soil moisture for greening to vegetative winter grains across central and northern Europe. Drought persisted on the Iberian Peninsula, although late-month showers provided some moisture for reproductive wheat and barley.

  • FSU-WESTERN: In March, cold, snowy weather kept much of the region under a moderate to deep snowpack. However, warmer conditions during the latter half of the month melted most of the snow cover in Belarus, Ukraine, and southern Russia, and eased winter grains out of dormancy in southern- and western-most growing areas. Soil moisture was in good supply for spring growth in most primary winter grain and oilseed areas.

  • NORTHWESTERN AFRICA: Widespread rain maintained favorable conditions for jointing to reproductive winter grains across Algeria and Tunisia. In contrast, developing drought in northern and western Morocco reduced prospects for reproductive to filling wheat and barley.

  • MIDDLE EAST AND TURKEY: In March, widespread rain and snow maintained mostly favorable prospects for winter grains and oilseeds. Precipitation was especially welcomed in western Iran, following a drier-than-normal winter. Winter grains broke dormancy at month’s end in the north, and were reproductive across southern growing areas.

  • SOUTH ASIA: Heat began building in India during March. Winter rapeseed harvesting neared completion and winter wheat harvesting was well underway. Little or no precipitation fell during the month, favoring drydown and harvesting.

  • EASTERN ASIA: In March, widespread rain fell in southeastern China. Although the precipitation was below normal, it was overall beneficial for reproductive winter rapeseed in the Yangtze Valley and boosted moisture supplies for early double-crop rice just to the south. Meanwhile, periodic showers on the North China Plain provided favorable moisture for vegetative winter wheat.

  • SOUTHEAST ASIA: Well-above-normal rainfall in the eastern Philippines maintained abundant to excessive soil moisture for rice and corn, while causing localized flooding in southern Luzon. An early season tropical cyclone made landfall in southern Vietnam at the end of March, bringing unseasonably heavy rains that delayed spring rice harvesting. Meanwhile, below-normal rainfall in Java, Indonesia benefited rice harvesting.

  • AUSTRALIA: In the wake of persistent wetness, near- to below-normal precipitation fell across southern Queensland and northern New South Wales in March. The drier weather aided summer crop dry down and harvesting, but unseasonably cool weather maintained a relatively slow pace for crop maturation.

  • SOUTH AFRICA: In March, a general trend of unseasonable warmth and dryness maintained unfavorable conditions for immature corn and other rain-fed summer crops, including sugarcane in southern KwaZulu-Natal.


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