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Europe Mars Bulletins

24 October 2012

Europe Mars Bulletin Vol. 20 No. 10Europe Mars Bulletin Vol. 20 No. 10

Campaign 2011/12 has come to a close across Europe
Supplied by: MARS BULLETIN – EC - JRC

Crop senescence is almost complete all over Europe. Seasonal accumulation of biomass varies from very negative anomalies in the southern and eastern countries to very positive anomalies in the northern and western countries, which is reflected in our yield forecasts.

Agro-Meteorological Overview

Mean air temperature was decidedly higher than usual in southern and eastern Europe, while northwestern Europe remained colder as compared to the long-term average (LTA). An unusually high number of hot days (Tmax>30°C) occurred in south-eastern Europe. Frosts were less frequent than LTA (?) in Russia and Finland, but cold days occurred in Northern Britain and Southern Scandinavia. Precipitation was abundant in Western and Northern Europe, while significant territories of the Aegean and Black Sea region remained dry.

Observed Temperatures

During the considered period significantly warmer than usual thermal conditions (+2 - +5°C) were experienced in a wide strip from Algeria to the Ural Mountains involving the south half of Apennine and entire Balkan Peninsula, West-Turkey, Ukraine and notable southern regions of Russia. The cumulated temperature sum reached or exceeded +50 degree day surplus in these areas. The weather was extraordinary warm in Corsica, Sicily, southern Italy, western Turkey and most of the Balkan region. The number of hot days (Tmax>30°C) reached 8- 15 days, which is 4-9 days more than the normal climatic expectancy. Extreme events were recorded in Bulgaria, Romania and Greece in the last days of September with highest daily temperatures between 33 – 36 °C. Concurrently, the temperature was 1-3°C lower than average in south Scandinavia, Ireland, England, Scotland and Benelux countries just as in north Germany.

Frost became more frequent in October, but severe decreases in temperature (Tmin<-6°C) are still limited to the Scandinavian Peninsula and northern and eastern areas of Russia. Frost occurred in scattered places of the plains in Britain, Germany, Poland, Czech and Slovak Republic and further to eastward, but France and the Mediterranean region remained practically frost-free. The occurrence of frost exceeded LTA by 3-7 days in Scotland, north England and southern regions of Norway and Sweden, though the incidence of negative temperatures indicated lower frequency than usual in Finland, in the Baltic States and Eastern Europe.

Observed Rainfall

Rainfall showed an erratic spatial distribution. Wetter than normal conditions occurred mostly in western and northern Europe, while central and south-eastern Europe was dryer than usual. Abundant precipitation, exceeding 100 mm, occurred along the eastern shore of North and Baltic Sea (in the Benelux States, North-Germany, Denmark, South-Sweden and South Finland) as well as in the British Isles, Scotland and northern half of France. The over-wet soils in these regions could have hampered sowing of winter crops. Abundant precipitation was also reported in the Alps, on the eastern coastline of the Adriatic Sea and large parts of north-west Russia, but these areas have less agricultural importance. Favourable and well above-average rainfall was received in east Spain and Morocco. Scarce or absent rainfall (<10 mm) was recorded in Bulgaria, in the important south-eastern agricultural areas of Romania, in the surrounding areas of the Aegean Sea and in some smaller spots of east Hungary, south Poland and south Belarus as well as in the region of Crimea Peninsula in Ukraine and southern Russia north of Caucasus Mountains.

Due to insufficient autumn rainfall and very serious summer drought the soils are dryer than usual in most of Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, hampering tillage and delaying germination of rape-seed. If sufficient rainfall does not occur soon in this region, rape-seed will not be able to establish well before wintering.

Weather Forecast for the Coming Days: 16-27 October

Warm and dry weather for large parts of Europe during the second half of the forecasting period, but heavy rainfall in Scandinavia, western France and particularly in the Iberian Peninsula.

A long precipitation front is expected to batter all the Atlantic coast of the continent up to the 21st of Oct with intensive rainfall concentrating on Scandinavia and particularly on the Iberian Peninsula and western France. The southern part of this front will fade out in the Mediterranean Sea after considerably showering Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily. Spain and Portugal will be hit by another precipitation event, overall resulting in cumulated rainfall much above average and, accordingly, cooler temperatures than LTA. Scandinavia is similarly wetter than LTQ, but only the far North is colder than normal. Meanwhile, on the Eastern part of the continent, a large perturbation over the Balkan region and Eastern Europe will move northwards and quickly disappear. Localised precipitation events are expected later in Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey and Cyprus. Besides these places, most of Europe will remain dry from 22 October to 27 October, with temperature sums higher than LTA.

Remote Sensing – Observed Canopy Conditions

Crop Senescence Across Europe

Crop senescence is almost complete in every region of Europe. Seasonal accumulation of biomass varies from very negative anomalies in the south and eastern countries to very positive anomalies in the northern and western countries.

The picture above displays the global biomass accumulation until the end of the considered agricultural season (October 2011 – September 2012) and evaluates whether the on-going season is close to normal values or an extreme event. In Spain the prolonged lack of rain in the Andalucía determined a reduced canopy growth, much lower than seasonal. Northern regions were less affected by water scarcity and green biomass accumulation had the same trend as the long term average (1998 – 2011). In Italy, in the eastern Emilia Romagna and Veneto, the impact of the summer drought moved the biomass accumulation to values below average. In France southern eastern main agricultural districts suffered from hot temperatures of this summer: after a favourable biomass accumulation in winter and in spring (e.g. Aquitaine) an early senescence occurred. In northern regions biomass accumulation values range above the average of the historical series. In the United Kingdom the growth season was very positive. In many regions (Lincolnshire is given as example) the canopy accumulation is among the highest of the ones recorded. Trigger of this behaviour were the favourable winter conditions. In Germany the southern regions (e.g. Oberbayern) faced favourable growing conditions with an outcome of a positive anomaly in canopy accumulation. North and central regions recovered to average scores after a difficult spring start. Similar conditions in Poland: western districts (see below graph of Wielkopolskie as example) recovered from a late start to average conditions but the south eastern rural regions were affected from high summer temperatures. Here biomass accumulation moved from normal to below average values. The same conditions affected large areas of Slovakia and Hungary and ruined the summer crops canopy development, as visible in Del Alfold profile for the current year biomass development. Even worse impact is visible around the Black Sea areas. Romania (e.g. Sud Muntania) and southern Ukraine faced one of the worse, and somewhere even the worst (Mykolayivs’ka), biomass accumulation among the historical years. In Turkey the strong spring delay did not heavily influence the crop season and only a light decrement, compared to the long term average, is visible in the overall biomass production. In Russia several inner rural regions suffered from strong weather impact along the season (spring delay, impressive boost in late spring and drought) while the western crop areas have seasonal values.

Crop Yield Forecasts EU-27 and Neighbouring Countries

Pasture Monitoring in Europe

Favourable season for northern and north western countries. Low to critically low biomass accumulation in southern and south-eastern regions.

The remote sensing data display positive biomass accumulation in northern and western Europe; actual accumulated values range above the average historical records. In Spain, the drought lasting in the southern regions caused negative anomalies of biomass accumulation, while the northern provinces were less impacted. Southern France and northern Italy were negatively affected by the high summer temperatures; the phenological cycle was advanced and senescence already started in early September. In the Baltic countries canopy development is still above average. Critical growth conditions for pastures prevail in south-eastern countries.

Low Expectations in the Mediterranean Basin

In Spain and Portugal, the evolution of pasture development in northern regions (Galicia and Asturias) is characterized by a slightly early senescence, mainly due to the high summer temperature. The overall accumulation of pasture canopy is slightly below the seasonal values for these regions while eastern regions have accumulation scores above the average. Nothing has changed in southern regions. Dehesa still exhibits large pasture areas that did not return to seasonal values; the rain of late September did not help at all the canopy recovery in south-eastern provinces.

In northern Italy the summer conditions determined a lack in biomass accumulation especially in the centre and northeast pasture areas. Veneto and Emilia Romagna fodder areas were strongly affected by the unusual high temperatures and only in late September, with a partial replenish of the water table, green pasture slightly recovered seasonal conditions. The change in trend is more visible in central regions where permanent pasture benefitted more from the precipitation. In Piemonte and Lombardia green maize fields were irrigated to prevent plants senescence and average production is expected.

Positive Season for Western Europe

The over-wet conditions in the British Isles continued for the whole September. The lack of cumulated solar radiation, already significant in summer, increased; temperatures in September dropped below the seasonal ones with several days with registered minimum temperature of around 5?C. In spite of all that, pasture biomass accumulation scores values below the average only in Ireland and mainly in the South of the country. Overall production in UK is above the historical average, but, considering only recent months the canopy development is on seasonal behaviour.

In France different trends are still visible comparing northern pasture with southern one. In north-western regions (Normandie, Bretagne and Pays de la Loire) rainfall in September was abundant and low solar radiation income was recovered with a positive balance in September. Biomass production is now on seasonal values while the seasonal balance is fairly above the average with productions areas ranked among the best seasons in the historical dataset (1998-2011). Opposite conditions are present in southern provinces. A lack of precipitation and high temperatures in summer determined early senescence that is still on going.

Benelux countries still present favourable conditions and seasonal biomass accumulation with values slightly above the historical mean.

Favourable Season in Central Europe

In North Germany, summer pasture production levels have been higher than average. The high average temperatures drag biomass to a peak of production in August while the chilly climate of September determined a reduction of the canopy growth and the beginning of the senescence. This general positive trend of the last months is not sufficient to recover the damage, in terms of biomass lack, suffered by pastures at the beginning of spring. No major constraints happened in Bayern and the other southern regions: production scores values slightly above the average. Once again temperatures were the main trigger for the positive biomass accumulation. Similar conditions are observed in Austria, Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Good Yield Expected for Eastern Countries

In northern and eastern Poland, in Estonia, in Latvia and in Lithuania the vegetative development of pastures has been favoured by a good balance between rainfall and a positive temperature regime. Yields could be foreseen above the average for wide regions for the countries. In some part of Latvia and Lithuania, biomass accumulation points toward the maximum values of the historical series. Lower level of biomass production is expected for southern Poland regions. The summer temperatures, with peaks above 30?C did not allow for good yield and canopy accumulation is around or below the average.

Production Above the Average in Northern Europe

During summer, in Denmark and Sweden, temperatures settled on average values. The biomass density on pasture and fodder areas was above the normal value until the beginning of September then moved to seasonal values. In Finland, in spite of the persistent cloud coverage of the last weeks, an average grassland production is observed, mainly thanks to the mild temperatures of September.

Drastic Decrease of Yield Expectations in the Black Sea Area

In Romania the summer drought caused a drastic early senescence of the phenological cycle. The damage suffered in summer, because of the heat waves and the precipitation scarcity, is not, even partially, mitigated by the rain of September while temperatures remain above seasonal values. The biomass production, considering the whole season, is in some areas the worst, compared to the historical data.

Rice Monitoring in Europe

Satisfactory Yields Despite Incidences of Infection

EU27 Rice Yield Forecasts as of 19 October 2012

Sources: 2007-2012 data come from EUROSTAT Eurobase (last update: 02/10/2012) and EES (last update: 18/09/2012)
2012 yields come from MARS CROP YIELD FORECASTING SYSTEM (WARM output up to 10/10/2012)

Rice yield at EU-27 level is forecast above last year’s values by 2%, and by 0.7% compared to 5-years average, although there is a decrease of about 4% in sowing area compared to last year’s figures. Romania in particular sees a major yield decline by around 13% followed by Spain (-4.3%), Bulgaria (-3.4%) and Greece (-2%) in comparison with the last year’s values. A major increase is forecast in Hungary of around +27%, followed by Italy which is around +7% compared to last year.

Risk of Blast Disease

According to our model simulations, there is strong reduction in values of blast-limited storage organs biomass by around 30% in areas of Spain (Andalucía, Comunidad Valencia), parts of Italy (Piemonte), Romania and Greece compared to last year’s values.

Agro-Meteorological Analysis

Italy: Satisfactory Conditions and Average Yield Forecast

The very dry and hot conditions during the second part of the summer increased crop development. The lack of precipitation reduced the number of days with a high risk of blast infections. The rainfall recorded at the beginning of September and also at the beginning of October, coupled with a sudden drop in temperatures for a few days, could have increased blast infection risk, but according to our model simulations it did not affect accumulated biomass showing values above average. In Piemonte and Lombardia the model simulates good canopy expansion that is confirmed by the NDVI and fAPAR profiles. However, the slight advance in canopy senescence due to the advance in development could have affected storage organs accumulation rate. Nevertheless the yield expectation remains slightly above the 5-years average.

Piemonte (IT)

Spain: Good Yield Expected Despite Dry Spells

The weather indicators such as cumulated global radiation and active temperatures above 0° C hit above the long-term average values with an exception of precipitation which is substantially below the long-term average values in the areas of Cataluña, Valencia, Andalucía and Extremadura. Further, in southern regions, where the maximum temperatures were often above the average values leading to advanced crop development (shortening of the crop cycle), has not showed any profound effect. Simulated values of leaf area index depict an optimal canopy development. Additionally, average NDVI values across the rice producing areas also point to a good yield year. Prevailing dry conditions could increase the incidence of blast infection (see related figure) which forced to revise down the earlier forecast yield values. Nevertheless, the expected yield still remains above the 5-years average.

France: Anticipated Yield Close to Average Values

Taking-off with low temperatures and less rainfall in the first part of the growth cycle, rice seems to have recovered due to the persistence of favourable weather characterised by a positive thermal regime, cumulated global radiation which registered above average values and continued rainfall. The crop’s growth and development recovery is well depicted in NDVI values which are comparable to long term average values. The model simulates sixteen days of fungal infection risk and shortening of growth cycle which may have negative effect on crop yield, hence the earlier forecast value is revised down which sits close to 5-year average values.

Portugal: Satisfactory Yields are Expected

Summer months were characterized by a lack in precipitation and warm conditions (maximum temperatures were often above 35°C). Blast infection is simulated with values slightly above the average reducing the yield potential where management practices were not effective. Despite these tough conditions, biomass accumulation and storage organs are simulated with values slightly above average. Further, simulated values of potential leaf area index suggest a positive canopy expansion and this is confirmed as well by the fAPAR profiles. This condition might counter balance the negative impact of blast on crop potential yield and still keeps it on average values.

Greece: Above Average Yield Expected

Witnessing a favourable temperature regime and abundant rainfall during the start of the crop season which sets promising platform for the crop optimal growth and development continued further. The simulated values of potential leaf area index show a positive canopy expansion and potential yield storage values are also on positive line and above the long-term average values suggesting a good yield year.

Romania: Blast Infection Reduced the Expected Yield

The season started with cold temperatures in April especially in the south-east region of Romania which later improved in terms of thermal regime and other weather parameters. Rice seems to be recovered which is reflected in the higher values of leaf area index (positive canopy expansion) and biomass accumulation simulated by the model. Due to enhanced risk of blast infection concentrated in the southern regions, which consequently impairs the photosynthetic capacity of the crop, the yield forecast is significantly dropped down which is now comparable to the last 5-year average values.

Hungary: A Reduced Risk of Fungal Infection Characterized the Whole Season

The high value cumulated temperatures which characterized the summer boosted rapidly rice development. The simulated values of potential leaf area index show a positive canopy expansion and cumulated biomass is well above the average. Moreover the dry condition experienced should have limited the propagation of blast infection to some areas in Eszak-Alfold allowing good yields.

Bulgaria: Satisfactory Conditions However Less Favourable than Last Year

The hot and dry weather continued throughout August in Bulgaria and could have affected the potential yield. The model simulates development stages slightly above the average and higher values than average for biomass accumulation and storage organs. Nevertheless the yield expectation remains close the 5-years average and slightly below the previous year.

Remote Sensing Analysis

The first of the cluster maps below displays the fAPAR time series from 11th of May 2012 to the 10th of October 2012. The period considered corresponds to the growth season for rice in Europe and the represented regions are the most relevant. In Piemonte and Lombardia (Italy) the biomass development is on seasonal values. Western rice fields display slightly higher values than the eastern ones. In France the canopy behaviour displays a normal trend for the summer period. The clusters 1 and 2 of current year values represents areas not exploited: the related profile in the graph has not the bell shape curve typical of rice fields. The Spain regions have favorable canopy evolution (see orange profile). In spite to the rainfall deficit water reservoir were sufficient and rice growth was supported by high seasonal temperatures.

The second cluster maps display the relative differences between the fAPAR values of the current season and the ones of the long term average (LTA: 1998- 2011). The analysis period is: 11th May – 10th October. In Italy the initial delay was completely recovered and the main phenological stages happened with a seasonal timing. In France the growth season was slightly delayed but, favored by the high temperatures, the overall biomass accumulation is higher than average (see yellow profile). The core regions in Spain (see blue profile for Andalucía) had an optimal development with an anticipated phenological cycle and definitely above the average season. The other regions faced a delayed season but the summer canopy development was positive and above the average.

October 2012


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