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Europe Mars Bulletins

22 May 2013

Europe Mars Bulletins Vol. 21 No. 5Europe Mars Bulletins Vol. 21 No. 5

Supplied by: MARS BULLETIN – EC - JRC

Temperatures increased in western Europe, boosting vegetation growth. Remote sensing indicators suggest a much more favourable outlook now than a few weeks ago, although there is still a noticeable delay in crop development of winter cereals notably in the British Isles and Benelux countries.

In general, the current prospects for EU-27 yields remained close to the average. Compared to our last forecasts, soft wheat has been slightly revised downwards at the EU-27 level, mainly due to lowered yield expectations for the UK and Ireland, as well as for the Baltic countries, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Denmark. In contrast, for winter barley, a major upward revision for Spain (by 25%) and minor increases (<1%) for large producers such as Germany and France, largely compensated the downward revision of forecasted yields in many small and some medium-sized producer countries. The forecast for spring barley at the EU-27 level was revised upwards by almost 4%, again mainly thanks to the good performance in Spain.

Areas of Concerns-Winter Crops

Based on observed and forecast data from 01 April 2013 until 25 May 2013
Prolonged delay in growth cycle

Forecasted rapeseed yields were revised slightly downwards for the EU-27, mainly due to a more negative outlook for the UK, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia, which was not compensated by the improved forecast for Poland and the slight improvement for Germany.

issued: 17 May 2013

Agro-Meteorological Overview

After the first ten days of April, temperatures recorded were warmer than usual in southern and eastern Europe. In many regions of eastern Europe, winter crops recuperated the previous delay. Above-average precipitation was recorded in Ireland, Scotland, eastern France, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, southern Poland, Slovakia and also in the eastern part of Balkan Peninsula. The sowing of spring crops was delayed in most of Europe due to abundant rainfall and persistent snow. From 16 May onwards warmer-than-usual conditions are expected over eastern and northern Europe. Maximum daily temperatures in the southwestern part of Russia could exceed 30°C in the coming days. Significantly colder-than-usual weather is forecast for western Europe and the western Mediterranean region. Abundant rainfall is likely to occur in northern Italy and surrounding regions. Rainfall amount will also exceed the long-term average in parts of central and western Europe.

Observed Temperatures

During the first dekad of April, colder-than-normal temperatures were recorded in northern and central Europe. The minimum temperatures during this period did not reach positive values in Germany, Poland, Denmark, the Czech Republic, northern Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. After this period, the temperature increased to above average all over Europe. In particular, the last dekad of April was warmer than the long-term average by 4°C to 6°C in central and southern Italy, the Balkan Peninsula, Romania, Slovakia, southern Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary and Ukraine. In some areas of these regions temperatures reached 30°C in the last days of April. On the contrary, negative average temperature anomalies in the range of 2°C were recorded in Spain, France, the Benelux countries, western UK, Denmark, Latvia and western Russia. During the first dekad of May, higher-than-usual temperatures were recorded in southern and eastern Europe, with average temperatures 2°C to 4°C above the long-term average, and 4°C to 6°C more than normal in the countries around the Black Sea. The strong positive thermal anomalies recorded during the analysis period in southern and eastern Europe contributed to an increased temperature sum (Tbase=0°C), which regionally exceeded the long-term average by more than 100 degree days. On the contrary, the cumulated active temperatures (Tbase=0°C) since the beginning of March remained below the long-term average by 100 to 80 GDD, resulting in a delayed winter and spring crop development mainly in northern Germany, Poland, northern France, the Benelux countries, Denmark, the UK, the Czech Republic and the Baltic countries.

Average Daily Temperature

Observed Rainfall

In April, precipitation exceeded the long-term average by more than 50 mm in Ireland, Scotland, northern Italy, eastern France and the eastern coast of Spain. Lower-than-usual precipitation occurred in England, Wales, northern France, the Benelux countries, northern Germany, Denmark, central and southern Italy, Portugal and Ukraine. In most of southern Italy, Spain, Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine the total rainfall during the first weeks of May did not exceed 10 mm. During this period above-average precipitation was still observed mainly in Ireland, Scotland, eastern France, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, southern Poland, Slovakia and also in eastern part of Balkan Peninsula. The wet conditions recorded in central Europe, during the period of analysis, affected the sowing of spring crops. The persistent snow in April determined a strong delay in spring sowing in the Baltic countries.

Average Daily Temperature

Weather Forecast For The Coming Days 16 May – 25 May

Warmer-than-usual conditions are expected over eastern and northern Europe. Maximum daily temperatures in the southwestern part of Russia could exceed 30°C in the coming days. Significantly colder-than-usual weather is forecast for western Europe and the western Mediterranean region. Abundant rainfall is likely to occur in northern Italy and surrounding regions. Rainfall amount will also exceed the long-term average in parts of central and western Europe.

Precipitation Forecast

Most of western Europe and the western Mediterranean are under the influence of low pressure systems. A wide depression over western Europe is expected to cause unstable weather conditions with frequent rainfall, especially during the first half of the forecast period. Severe weather conditions are expected over northern Italy, with rainfall amounts exceeding 150 mm. Above-average rainfall is expected over the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula, the UK, France, the Benelux countries, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia and the Adriatic coast of the Balkan Peninsula. Rainfall amounts in the western part of Germany may exceed the long-term average locally by more than 100 mm. A high-pressure system will prevail over northern and eastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean during the forecast period. Mainly dry conditions are therefore expected over major parts of Scandinavia, Russia, Sicily, the southern part of the Balkan Peninsula and the western part of Turkey.

Temperature forecast

Warmer-than-usual conditions are expected in northern Europe, eastern Europe, Poland and the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula. Average daily temperatures in the Baltic countries, part of Scandinavia, Belarus and the northern part of Ukraine and Russia are expected to rise by up to 8°C above the long-term average. Warmer conditions in these areas will accelerate crop development. Maximum daily temperature over the southwestern part of Russia is forecast to exceed 30°C in the coming days. Colder-than-usual conditions are forecast for western Europe and the western Mediterranean region. The strongest negative temperature anomaly is expected over the central part of the Iberian Peninsula, with temperatures up to 8°C below the long term average. Up to 6°C colder-than-usual conditions are forecast for France. Continuing colder conditions over western Europe and the western Mediterranean region will slow the development of winter and summer crops. Weather conditions will be favourable for crop development in the Baltic countries, Scandinavia, Belarus and Poland.

Remote Sensing Analysis – Observed Canopy Conditions

Persistent lack of biomass accumulation in Western Europe. Good canopy development in Spain and the Black Sea areas.

Potential fAPAR Evolution for the Growing Season

The map displays global biomass accumulation until the end of the growing season and, therefore, evaluates whether or not the ongoing season is developing close to normal. The cumulated Fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation (fAPAR) values for the end of the season were computed using the observed fAPAR values from 1st March 2013 to 10 May 2013, and adding historical average fAPAR values from 11 May to 30 September. The fAPAR cumulated values obtained were compared with the three historical series (minimum, maximum and average).

Across the Iberian Peninsula, crop canopy development is optimal and the seasonal biomass accumulation is foreseen quite above the average for a large share of the cultivated land (e.g. Castilla y Léon). In Italy, winter crops in northern regions recovered to normal phenological stages. Canopy in central and northern regions of France (e.g. Centre) benefited from the seasonal temperatures of late April: winter crops recovered the phenological delay to almost normal stages. In the United Kingdom, the lag of crop growth and biomass accumulation were only partially recovered (e.g. East Anglia) in the latest period but remain quite below average; a reduction in the yield of winter crops is plausible. In Germany, green vegetation received a boost in the past ten days and recovered the previous development delay (e.g. Weser-Ems). Overall biomass accumulation still displays negative anomalies, mainly in the northern regions. Winter crops in the Baltic and eastern countries are back to normal values because of a steep increase in the growth rate, especially in the past ten days. The negative anomalies (e.g. in Latvia) between the current fAPAR values and the average are once more due to the delay in spring crop sowing and canopy development. In Romania and Bulgaria (e.g Severn Tsentralen), the biomass accumulation values are quite above average. The anticipated boost in vegetation growth has led to a significant increase in water demand which has, to date, not been met with sufficient precipitation. In Ukraine, winter crop development is advanced and biomass accumulation is above average, as can be seen in the fAPAR graph for the Dnipropetrovs’ka region. In Turkey (e.g. Konya), favourable climatic conditions persist since the winter period, and good yield expectations are forecast.

Spring Crops – Sowing Conditions

Spring Barley

The sowing of spring barley was delayed in most of Europe due to cold temperatures and persistent snow. Meteorological conditions resulted in delayed sowing in Germany and Poland, but crop development now is progressing due to more favourable temperatures and rainfall events in the past days. Abundant rainfall during the sowing period in Hungary, Romania and Ukraine hampered field operations and hence delayed sowing. Most of central Europe (Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia) also experienced delayed sowing due to cold temperature but have since recouped due to net increase in temperature in April. In Spain and Turkey, sowing took place under normal weather conditions. In Italy, sowing was delayed due to cold temperatures, but overall growth conditions are now back to normal in terms of temperature development and rainfall distribution.

Grain Maize

Spain and Italy received abundant precipitation during the maize sowing period. This had a moderate impact on the sowings in Spain and caused significant delays in in northern Italy (Piemonte, Lombardia). In Greece, sowing conditions were favourable due to warm air temperatures and suitable soil moisture. In the eastern parts of Europe, after a difficult period of cold and wet conditions, the first half of May presented an appropriate sowing window. However, wet conditions in Hungary and Poland seem to have delayed sowing by one or two weeks. It is expected that the sowing in the western parts of Europe will be completed by the end of May. Indeed, although the temperature conditions in these countries are appropriate for sowing, occasional rainfall may delay the accessibility and the preparation of the fields.

Sugar Beet

Sugar beet sowing was delayed by up to three weeks in most of Europe’s major producing areas: in the northern regions due to cold temperatures until mid-April and in the southern regions mainly due to overly wet conditions. However, sowing conditions were generally favourable in Turkey and southern Russia. The rather dry conditions that prevailed around the sowing period affected germination and crop establishment in northern regions, such as most of the UK, northern France, the Netherlands, northern Germany, Poland and the Ukraine. However, current conditions and the short-term weather outlook are generally favourable for growth and development. Early canopy development is seen to be an important determinant for high sugar beet yields. Therefore, it will be difficult to achieve top yields in the areas which experienced serious setbacks. Good yields can still be produced, however, if favourable weather conditions continue to prevail.


In the major European sunflower areas, the winter was extended to mid-April with cold temperatures and abundant rainfall delaying the start of sunflower sowing. In Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria, snow cover melted on the 28 and 29 March, followed by humid conditions with at least 30 mm of rain during the first half of April. Sowing conditions were favourable after mid-April with no significant rainfall. In Spain (Castile and León and Andalucia) and France (Midi-Pyrénées and Poitou-Charentes) temperatures increased above the long-term average and rainfall stopped during the second dekad of April, leading to favourable conditions for sowing. Ukraine had good conditions for sowing at the beginning of April with no rainfall. Even if sunflower sowing is delayed, cumulated rainfall may have replenished soil moisture in most productive areas. The delayed sowing may eventually impact yields if water availability tends to decrease during the flowering stage.


Similar to other spring-sown crops, the start of potato planting was delayed in Europe’s main producing areas, due to cold or overly wet conditions until the beginning of April. Planting speeded up rapidly, however, when conditions improved, and in general the bulk of the planting was completed within the normal window. In some northern European countries, such as Poland, planting is still underway, partly because farmers decided to expand their potato acreage at the expense of spring cereals. The delays in early- owing and below-average soil temperatures during germination are likely to lead to later harvesting, but yields are generally not expected to be seriously affected.

May 2013


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