USDA: Russian Wheat Prospects 'Mixed'

June 5, 2013 02:32 AM

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

  • EUROPE: Increasingly heavy rain and below-normal temperatures persisted across most of the continent. A large area of high pressure remained anchored over northern Scandinavia and western Eurasia, preventing storms from exiting eastern Europe. As storm systems looped over the continent, moderate to heavy rain (25-120 mm, locally more) halted fieldwork, caused lowland flooding, and slowed crop development. While most major crop regions in Europe received rainfall, precipitation was heaviest in corn districts of southwestern France (maximum value of 103 mm) as well as rapeseed and barley areas of central and southern Germany (peak of 172 mm). The wet weather was generally beneficial for summer crops but untimely for maturing winter grains and oilseeds. In addition, temperatures up to 6°C below normal further slowed crop development, with winter grains and oilseeds already lagging the normal development pace by 10 to 14 days due to an abnormally cold spring. In contrast to the heavy rain, somewhat drier conditions (2-20 mm) in Spain and central and southern Italy allowed many producers to resume winter grain harvesting, although some localized fieldwork delays lingered. Showers (10- 30 mm) in northern Italy continued to make corn planting difficult on the heels of recent torrential rainfall.

  • FSU-WESTERN: Increasing showers provided much-needed soil moisture and heat relief to some key southern winter wheat areas. Rainfall amounts totaled 3 to 40 mm in Russia’s Southern District, the country’s primary winter wheat producer; however, crop conditions remained mixed due to the highly variable rain amounts. The clouds and rain also shaved a couple of degrees off daytime highs in northern portions of the Southern District, easing crop stress. In contrast, temperatures above 30°C in southern portions of the Southern District maintained high crop- water demands and increased stress on heading to filling winter wheat. Farther west, rain bypassed southern-most portions of Ukraine (in particular Crimea), where locally poor growing conditions due to dryness and heat contrasted with generally favorable crop prospects elsewhere in Ukraine. Across the remainder of the region, widespread showers and thunderstorms (10-60 mm) maintained adequate to abundant soil moisture for vegetative corn and sunflowers.

  • FSU-EASTERN: Drier, somewhat warmer weather accelerated fieldwork and crop development. A much-needed respite from recent wetness allowed producers to resume spring wheat planting in southern Russia and northern Kazakhstan. In addition, near- to above-normal temperatures in western growing areas encouraged crop growth. However, chilly conditions (up to 3°C below normal) lingered in the Siberia District, maintaining slow growth rates. Drier weather also returned to southern cotton areas, facilitating late cotton planting following last week’s locally heavy rainfall.

  • MIDDLE EAST: Early week showers gave way to seasonably drier weather, promoting winter crop maturation and harvesting. An upper-air low finally departed the region, although the system dropped another 2 to 30 mm of rain from eastern Turkey into northwest Iran before exiting. The return of sunny skies by mid-week promoted winter wheat drydown and allowed producers to resume harvesting. Elsewhere, dry, hot weather promoted fieldwork, including winter wheat harvesting and late corn, sorghum, and cotton planting.

  • NORTHWEST AFRICA: Dry weather returned to most primary growing areas, accelerating winter grain drydown and harvesting. Early week showers (10-25 mm) were confined to central Algeria, a relatively minor wheat and barley area. Consequently, while localized fieldwork delays were likely, the overall impact of the rain was small. Elsewhere, dry weather promoted harvesting, although cooler-than-normal conditions (up to 5°C below normal) slowed late maturation and drydown. In closing, the 2012-13 growing season was favorable over most primary wheat and barley areas in northwest Africa, and yield prospects remained excellent throughout the season due to abundant moisture and near-normal temperatures. This will be the last weekly summary of the season. Weekly coverage will resume in the Fall, 2013.

  • SOUTH ASIA: According to the India Meteorological Department, the monsoon began late in the week across southwestern India. Showers (50-100 mm) pushed inland and overspread Kerala, Karnataka, and portions of western Andhra Pradesh. With the timely onset of the monsoon, farmers began planting activities throughout the peninsular region, while farmers in central and western India will wait for the rains before beginning planting. Pre-monsoon showers (50-150 mm) continued in northeastern India and Bangladesh, encouraging early transplanting of rice (the monsoon typically arrives in these areas the second week of June). Hot weather continued in areas where rainfall had yet to develop, with daytime temperatures consistently above 40°C and occasionally topping 45°C. In addition, weekly temperatures averaging 35°C or more (1-2°C above normal) in northern India stressed vegetative cotton and rice despite adequate irrigation supplies.

  • EAST ASIA: In northeastern China, dry weather continued for emerging to vegetative corn in western Jilin, Liaoning, and Heilongjiang as well as adjoining areas of Inner Mongolia. These areas have not received appreciable rainfall since May 20 and more rainfall is needed to aid corn establishment. Emerging corn, soybean, and rice in central and eastern portions of Heilongjiang, however, benefited from additional rainfall (10-25 mm) as seasonal (since May 1) moisture surpluses continued. Farther south on the North China Plain, the unwelcomed wetness from late last week continued into the early part of the current period as 25 to 100 mm of rain raised concerns over wheat quality and harvest conditions. In contrast, the periodic showers (weekly totals between 25-200 mm) occurring during the week across the Yangtze Valley and southern China maintained abundant moisture supplies for summer crops and eased developing dryness in southeastern provinces. Meanwhile on the Korean Peninsula, 25 to as much as 200 mm of rain during the early part of the week erased May moisture deficits and improved paddy conditions for rice transplanting. Rainfall was spotty, however, in Japan, with some areas receiving 25 to 50 mm, as May moisture deficits continued for rice transplanting. Temperatures throughout the region remained 2 to 6°C above normal, although the heavy showers early in the week on the North China Plain and portions of the Yangtze Valley ushered in cooler weather and subsequently temperatures were 1 to 2°C below normal for the week in these locales.

  • SOUTHEAST ASIA: The monsoon remained weak across Thailand with spotty, below-normal rainfall (10-100 mm). Moisture deficits for the season (beginning May 1) continued in the North and Central Plain Regions, while surplus moisture maintained favorable growing conditions for recently transplanted rice in the Northeast Region. Rainfall deficits also continued for summer rice in southern Vietnam despite more consistent rainfall the last couple of weeks. In the Philippines, widespread monsoon rains (25-100 mm) maintained adequate moisture supplies for rice and corn, although pockets of dry weather in the Cagayan Valley and southern Luzon limited moisture for rice. Meanwhile, rainfall was generally below normal in oil palm areas of Malaysia and Indonesia, benefiting harvest conditions but reducing soil moisture.

  • AUSTRALIA: Widespread showers (10-25 mm, locally more) in Western Australia continued to aid wheat, barley, and canola establishment, maintaining good early season crop prospects. Similarly, soaking rains (15-45 mm or more) throughout most of South Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales benefited winter grains and oilseeds, helping germination and emergence. In southern Queensland, mostly dry weather slowed early winter wheat development but favored late summer crop harvesting. Temperatures in southern Queensland and Western Australia were generally seasonable, while in southeastern Australia temperatures averaged 1 to 2 ° C above normal.

  • ARGENTINA: Mostly dry, unseasonably warm weather promoted harvesting of summer grains, oilseeds, and cotton. Weekly temperatures averaged 1 to 3°C above normal throughout the main agricultural areas of central and northern Argentina, with daytime highs ranging from the upper teens (degrees C) in southeastern Buenos Aires to the lower and middle 30s in the far north. Minimum temperatures fell below 5°C as far north as northern Cordoba, but no widespread freeze was recorded. Precipitation increased from the previous week in eastern farming areas, though amounts in excess of 25 mm were mostly confined to eastern Buenos Aires. Meanwhile, little to no rain fell from La Pampa and western Buenos Aires northward to Salta, Chaco, and Formosa, aiding drydown and harvesting of summer grains, oilseeds, and cotton. According to Argentina’s Ministry of Agriculture, corn and soybeans were 69 and 94 percent harvested, respectively, as of June 3, at least 5 points ahead of last year’s pace for both crops. In addition, peanuts — mostly produced in Cordoba — were 50 percent harvested versus 24 percent last season.

  • BRAZIL: Unseasonably heavy rain fell throughout southern and central Brazil, providing a late-season boost in moisture to immature row crops but impacting harvesting and maturation of other crops. Rainfall totaled 10 to 50 mm from Rio Grande do Sul to northern Parana, with higher amounts (50-150 mm) centered over Sao Paulo and southwestern Minas Gerais. While beneficial for secondary (safrinha) corn, the moisture was untimely for unharvested sugarcane and maturing coffee. Rain (5-50 mm) extended north and westward toward Mato Grosso and Tocantins, providing corn and cotton with an unusually late boost in moisture. In contrast, drier conditions dominated the northeast, though seasonal showers (10-35 mm) continued in coastal sugarcane and cocoa areas stretching from Pernambuco to southern Bahia. Weekly average temperatures ranged from near normal to 3°C above, with daytime highs again reaching 35°C in traditionally warmer locations in Mato Grosso and Tocantins.

  • MEXICO: Hurricane Barbara brought locally heavy rain and flooding to sections of the southeast. Barbara made landfall near the border between Oaxaca and Chiapas with sustained winds of 65 knots, making it a weak category 1 storm. Heavy tropical showers (200 to more than 400 mm) soaked an area that included the landfall area, as well as southeastern Veracruz and western Tabasco, causing flooding and potentially some damage to crops and the agricultural infrastructure. Crops typically grown in the area most impacted by the storm include corn, coffee, and varieties of citrus. Locally heavy tropical showers (25-100 mm) developed over the Yucatan Peninsula but lighter rain (mostly below 25 mm) fell on the southern plateau, where additional rain would be welcome for establishment and uniform emergence of corn and other rain-fed summer crops. Drier conditions prevailed in central and northern Mexico, aiding harvesting of winter grains, in particular wheat, corn, and sorghum. Weekly temperatures averaging 1 to 3°C above normal (daytime highs in excess of 35°C) aided the drying process throughout much of the north.

  • CANADIAN PRAIRIES: Locally heavy rain hampered fieldwork across the southern Prairies, but favorably drier conditions prevailed farther north. Rainfall totaled 10 to 75 mm in much of Manitoba, southern sections of Saskatchewan, and southern and western farming areas of Alberta, including the Peace River Valley. Despite the delays to fieldwork, the rain was welcome in previously dry southwestern sections of the Prairies for spring crop germination. Near- to below-normal temperatures accompanied the moisture, with low temperatures occasionally falling below 5°C; patchy frost was possible in Alberta and a few locations in Manitoba as temperatures briefly approached 0°C. Meanwhile, mostly dry, warmer weather (weekly temperatures averaging 2-3°C above normal) dominated northern Saskatchewan and neighboring locations in Alberta. These areas also experienced the week’s warmest weather (daytime highs reaching 25°C), aiding the drying process and improving planting conditions. According to the Government of Saskatchewan, crops were 67 percent planted as of May 27, compared with the 5-year average of 70 percent. Southern districts were the most advanced relative to normal and northern districts the farthest behind, with progress ranging from 85 percent in the southwest to 51 percent in the northeast.

  • SOUTHEASTERN CANADA: Warm, showery weather prevailed, maintaining mostly favorable conditions for crops and pastures. Rainfall was highly variable, with pockets of dryness contrasting with accumulations in excess of 25 mm. Cool weather lingered into the early part of the week, and additional patchy frost was likely as nighttime lows fell to near 0°C in some areas. According to Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food in a report dated May 29, damage from last week’s freeze was evident in some fields but many crops were not yet susceptible to damage, and time will be needed to fully assess the situation. However, a warming trend quickly ensued, and weekly temperatures averaged 2 to 3°C above normal with daytime highs reaching the upper 20s (degrees C) in southwestern Ontario and the lower 30s in southern Quebec.


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