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Europe Mars Bulletins

23 July 2013

MARS Bulletin Vol. 21 No. 7 (Crop monitoring in Europe - 22 July 2013)MARS Bulletin Vol. 21 No. 7 (Crop monitoring in Europe - 22 July 2013)

Supplied by: MARS BULLETIN – EC - JRC

Favourable conditions sustain good yields for EU-28

After the heavy rains of the end of May and beginning of June, Europe experienced rather beneficial conditions for crop growth, with the exception of the plains in eastern Ukraine and neighbouring regions in Russia which experienced hot conditions coupled with scarce precipitation. In northern Italy, there is still a strong delay in the development of summer crops, leading to increased crop vulnerability.

On balance, the EU-28 crop yield forecasts for all cereals, aside from durum wheat, were revised upwards. The yield forecast for soft wheat was raised for all EU-28 countries with the exception of Italy, Bulgaria, Finland and Greece. Durum wheat yield expectations remain clearly above average at the EU-28 level, despite a downward revision for Greece. The overall EU-28 winter barley forecast was also revised upwards due to higher forecasted yields of the two largest producers, Germany and France. EU-28 spring barley yield forecasts remain exceptionally high due to the excellent season in Spain. Rapeseed yield estimates were revised slightly upwards for the EU-28, but are still forecast to be below last year’s level. The EU-28 forecast for grain maize was revised slightly upwards, thanks to an increased yield forecast for Bulgaria, and continues to be clearly above last year’s yield. Yield forecasts for sugar beets were revised downwards.

Country analysis

European Union

On balance, the EU-28 crop yield forecasts for all cereals, aside from durum wheat, were revised upwards. The yield forecast for soft wheat was raised for all EU-28 countries with the exception of Italy, Bulgaria, Finland and Greece. Durum wheat yield expectations remain clearly above average at the EU-28 level, despite a downward revision for Greece. The overall EU-28 winter barley forecast was also revised upwards due to higher forecasted yields of the two largest producers, Germany and France. EU-28 spring barley yield forecasts remain exceptionally high due to the excellent season in Spain. Rapeseed yield estimates were revised slightly upwards for the EU-28, but are still forecast to be below last year’s level. The EU-28 forecast for grain maize was revised slightly upwards, thanks to an increased yield forecast for Bulgaria, and continues to be clearly above last year’s yield. Yield forecasts for sugar beets were revised downwards.


Crops are still delayed but meteorological conditions lead to improved yield forecasts

Average temperatures are close to normal since the beginning of June. There is still an appreciable delay but crops are benefiting from milder temperatures and high soil moisture content. Thus, yields are revised upwards compared to the previous forecast.

After a cold and rainy spring in most regions, conditions since the beginning of June are optimal while crops are reaching decisive development stages. The cumulated sum of temperatures since the beginning of June is close to the normal for the season. The last dekad of June was characterised by temperatures 3°C below the average in most regions, except in the north. Temperatures during the first half of July were slightly above average. After a rainy spring in the southern half of the country, precipitation eased from June onwards. However, two days with heavy storms (more than 30 mm) were recorded in Aquitaine. These unusually wet conditions have hampered farm activities and maize sowings have been negatively affected.

The delays in crop development incurred during spring, as reported in previous bulletins, is still appreciable for all major crops but the slightly above-average temperatures since the beginning of July are now ensuring optimal growing conditions. Soft wheat and barley are benefiting from these conditions as the harvesting season approaches.

Yields are expected to be slightly below the average for sunflower and maize crops due to the delay and overly wet conditions in Aquitaine and Midi-Pyrénées. By contrast, durum wheat is benefiting from the higher-than-usual soil moisture content in the south. Dry conditions in the north are expected to slightly reduce potato yields.


Good conditions for grain filling of winter cereals

Due to favourable weather conditions for winter and spring cereals during the past weeks, yield forecasts have been revised upwards since the last Bulletin. Mediocre yields are forecast for maize and tuber crops.

Since the 1st of June, seasonal temperatures are recorded with a few hot days (2-5) around 18 June, foremost in the south of the country. Consequently, temperature accumulation was normal and sustained a steady growth, but for the more thermophile crops such as maize, warmer temperatures would have been beneficial. Rain was well distributed in June after the exceptionally heavy rainfall events towards the end of May and beginning of June. As a consequence of the high water inputs, soil moisture levels in large parts of the country (Sachsen, Bayern, Baden-Wuerttemberg) were often higher than field capacity. Over prolonged periods this would have created problems for plant development due to nutrient leaching and decreased access of roots to air. This is especially true for the tuber and maize crops that suffered more than winter and early-sown spring cereals and for which only mediocre yields are currently forecast. Since the beginning of July dry but not too hot weather conditions persist providing good conditions for the grain filling of winter and spring cereals. As a result, the growth cycle of winter and spring cereals was not unfavourably shortened and consequently yield forecasts for winter and spring cereals were raised compared to our last bulletin, and are now well above average. The harvesting is about to start later than usual as the delay caused by the cold spring was only partially compensated. Soil moisture contents are depleting rapidly now, but as winter cereals are almost mature we do not expect severe negative effects. By contrast, more rain would be needed to sustain maize yields, but a dry period is forecast and yield potentials remain highly vulnerable.


Persistent abundant rainfall

Mild weather accompanied by abundant rainfall and above-average radiation created very good conditions for crop growth and development, leading to an upward revision of yield forecasts for all crops.

Abundant rainfall persisted during the period analysed, characterising this growing season as wet. The negative impact of overly wet soils has been minimised by increased temperatures. The mild weather and higher-than-usual soil moisture content is accompanied by above-average solar radiation, which result in very good conditions for crop growth and development. Most crops responded to these favourable conditions with increased biomass accumulation. Winter rapeseed and winter barley are in the ripening stage and have reached full maturity in some regions. Our rainfall forecast for the coming days is for low- to moderate precipitation levels, that will create favourable conditions for the harvesting of these crops. Other winter crops are still in the grain-filling stage, meaning that the good weather brings direct benefits to their yields. Spring crops are also growing well, overcoming the delays incurred during the start of the season, and promising very good yields.

Our yield forecast for all crops is based on crop simulations. Favourable weather and intensive crop growth boosted our yield predictions for all crops. The current yield forecast is higher than the five-year average; and the yield forecast for most winter cereals is set above last year’s very good yield levels.

United Kingdom and Ireland

Mildly positive outlook

With relatively dry days and mild temperatures, the period from 1 June until 15 July has brought favourable conditions for crop growth that improve the outlook for reasonable yields

Although some events of higher rainfall intensity have been recorded, rainfall levels have been generally low during this period. Ideally crops would benefit from well-distributed light night-time showers in the coming weeks, but there is little risk of drought stress, except on the more shallow soils. June was slightly colder than usual in England, but slightly warmer in Scotland and Ireland. Temperatures increased substantially in July in the UK and Ireland. If high temperatures continue, yields could be affected negatively, due to the shortening of the grain-filling period. According to our simulations, this seems to have already occurred in Scotland and Ireland where development of cereals was accelerated by the warmer temperature. Elsewhere, the season is still delayed by about two weeks, but biomass accumulation seems to be reaching normal or higher-than-normal levels according to crop model simulations and remote sensing observations. If favourable weather remains for the next weeks, the only negative effect will be a late harvest (which might complicate sowings for the next season). The cereal yield forecast was revised upwards (closer to the average) for the UK, but not for Ireland where conditions have been less favourable. Potatoes and sugar beets are faring well in the UK, with average-to-good yield prospects. Winter rapeseed is still difficult to predict due to the strong diversity of situations mentioned in previous bulletins (wide range of development stages reported on the ground, abandoned crops, etc.), but the yield outlook remains below average.

Spain and Portugal

Harvesting of winter and spring cereals continues with optimal yield expectations

Favourable weather conditions – warm temperatures and scarce rainfalls– are being experienced during the ripening and harvesting periods of wheat and barley. Yield expectations for these crops are among the highest ever.

Across the Iberian Peninsula, a general increase in temperatures has been observed during the past month, ending the prolonged period of chilly temperatures that started in early spring. Especially from the end of June, daily averages were about 3°C above average in central Spain and up to 7°C above average in the Atlantic basin (Centro and Norte in Portugal, Galicia in Spain). During the June-July period, the rainfall registered has been scarce, although episodic thunderstorms have been observed in the north of Castilla y Léon and Aragon during the last half of June.

These meteorological conditions have benefited the harvesting of wheat and barley, which has almost finished in the south (Andalucia, Alentejo), and which is quite advanced in the centre (Castilla La Mancha) and in the north east (Aragon, Cataluña). In Castilla y Léon, harvesting has recently started under positive conditions, albeit with a two-week delay. In all these regions, favourable weather during spring and summer, with abundant rainfall and temperatures that were slightly colder than usual, resulted in high biomass accumulation and optimal grain filling of soft wheat and spring barley. The yield expectations, based on the analysis of satellite images and crop model indicators, are exceptionally high, which suggests that this could be one of the best seasons ever for winter and spring cereals in the Iberian Peninsula.

By contrast, summer crops present a delay in their vegetative development, directly linked to the cold temperatures registered in late spring, especially in the north. The increase in temperatures over the past weeks will improve their development. As water availability in the reservoirs is high, the irrigation period is expected to continue with no constraints for maize, sugar beets and potato.

Italy and Slovenia

Maize and soft wheat yields revised slightly downwards

The harvesting of winter cereals has been completed. Cumulated rainfall during the past few months has assured a good reserve of water in the soil for spring crops. However, maize and sugar beet crops are vulnerable as the strong delay in crop development has not been compensated.

During June, average temperatures remained slightly below average with the exception of a few days’ positive thermal anomaly around the 20th of the month. Normal thermal conditions were observed during the first dekad of July. Below-average rainfall was recorded. Due to the unstable atmospheric conditions, mainly in northern and central regions, some rainfall events were rather heavy with short but strong thunderstorms. The rainfall cumulated over the previous months has assured a good reserve of soil water and therefore the risk of water shortages for summer crops is expected to be small. For maize the significant delay in crop development due to late sowing and poor start of the season has not been compensated, and crops are therefore highly vulnerable. Furthermore, cold and wet conditions recorded during the sowing period and the different cultivars sown have led to strong differences in the phenological stages of crops; e.g. in the same area of cultivation some maize fields are still at an early vegetative stage, whereas in others flowering has started. A very strong delay in crop development is also observed for sugar beets, with a simulated crop leaf area index below average, particularly in Emilia Romagna and Veneto. The yield forecasts for both crops were revised slightly downwards. By contrast, above-average yields are expected for sunflower crops (mainly confined to central Italy), which are at the flowering stage and which show values of simulated biomass above the average. Our models confirm the forecasted near-average rapeseed and durum wheat yields. The harvesting of soft wheat was completed at the beginning of July. The yield forecast is revised slightly downwards because the persistent cold and wet conditions recorded during the spring and up until the first dekad of June affected the grain-filling process and caused an increase in fungal diseases, mainly in northern Italy.


High yields are forecast for winter cereals

Thermal conditions were near optimal with the only exception of a short heat wave in June. Precipitation was less than usual, but the soil moisture content is still sufficient. Growth and development of summer crops is adequate. The yield outlook for winter cereals is good, but that for spring barley was revised downwards. Harvesting started, supported by dry weather.

In the first half of June, weather conditions were moderately colder than usual. A short heat wave occurred from 16-23 June, with daily maximum temperatures of over 30°C, even reaching 34-35°C around 20 June. As the soil moisture content was adequate and the hot spell was short, no significant damage was caused to small grain cereals. After a sudden drop in temperatures by 15°C during the last week of June, thermal conditions remained in the normal range during the first dekad of July. The precipitation sum was below average in June and July, but the soil moisture content remained sufficient to fulfil the water demand of crops, since the soil was well replenished in May.

This moderately warm weather was especially favourable for winter wheat and winter barley, providing near-optimal conditions during the grain-filling stage. The expectations for spring barley yields are moderate since the growing conditions were suboptimal due to the late/delayed sowing. The simulated storage organ weight of winter cereals and rapeseed considerably exceeds the long-term average, and high yields are forecast. Winter cereals are mature in the southern and eastern regions.

The phenological development and canopy extension of summer crops is normal, coupled with above-average biomass accumulation. Consequently, yield expectations are positive. Sunflowers and grain maize are in the flowering and grain-filling stages, so rains would be beneficial to sustain the current yield potential.


Exceptional biomass accumulation of maize and sunflower crops

The harvesting of winter cereals and rapeseed started 15-30 days earlier than usual this year, but harvesting activities were interrupted by heavy rains in late June, which also affected grain quality. The yield outlook for winter cereals exceeds not only the results of 2012 (which was a dry year) but is also considerably higher than the average for the past five years. Summer crop conditions are good and the cumulated biomass is exceptionally high.

Temperatures mostly fluctuated around average except for the period from 16 until 25 June, when the thermal anomaly reached +4-6°C. Five to seven hot days (Tmax>30°C) were recorded, with daily maximums of 35-37°C.

Areas along the Hungarian border received normal amounts of rainfall, but in eastern and southern territories of Romania, including Nord-Est, Sud-Est, Sud-Muntenia and the eastern part of Macroregiunea Patru, the precipitation surplus reached +60-120 mm. The most intense precipitation events (from 30 to 130 mm in one day) occurred during the last days of June, causing significant delays to the harvesting, and providing conditions conducive to the proliferation of fungal infections and other crop diseases which led to decreased grain quality. On the other hand, soil moisture levels increased significantly, which was favourable for the summer crops. Precipitation levels declined in July allowing the harvesting to restart.

The phenological development of all crops is significantly early, by at least 5-10 days. Soil moisture levels are still favourable and are expected to provide good water supply during the yield formation period of maize and sunflower. Crop model simulations indicate exceptionally high accumulation of maize and sunflower biomass. Therefore the yield forecast for these crops was revised upwards to a considerable extent. Potato and sugar beet crops have developed a dense canopy. The calculated biomass and yield potential of these crops also exceed the long-term average.


Good yield outlook for summer crops

Abundant rainfall has delayed the harvesting of winter cereals, but kept soil moisture at favourable levels for maize and sunflower crops. Biomass accumulation of summer crops is among the best in years, suggesting high yield potential. The yield forecast for maize and sunflowers was revised upwards accordingly.

Temperatures fluctuated closely around the average during the first and last 15 days of the period under analysis. Between these two periods, a short heat spell hit the country, with maximum temperatures reaching 33-36°C on the hottest days. This hot period would not have led to any significant yield losses of wheat and barley because these crops were already in the late ripening or maturity stages.

During June, rainfall was frequent and plentiful in most of Bulgaria. Precipitation exceeded the average by 90-160%. The last dekad of the month was unusually wet; especially the last day of June when torrential rains hit the northern regions, thus hampering the harvesting and reducing the grain quality. Locally, the excess precipitation could have caused water logging problems. Below-average rainfall was registered in June in a small limited area along the shore of Black Sea, where only half the normal amount of rainfall was measured. During the first half of July, precipitation was scarce throughout the country.

Harvesting started earlier than usual since the development of winter cereals was strongly advanced due to the above-average thermal conditions of this year. The yield forecasts of winter cereals and rapeseed are just above the average of the past five years. Summer crops benefited from the rainfall in June, which favourably replenished soil moisture. The phenological development of sunflower crops is one week ahead while the other summer crops present normal seasonal development. These near-optimal conditions lead to very high biomass accumulation of maize, sunflower and potato crops indicating the potential for a rich harvest. However, the moist weather conditions of June have increased the risk of crop diseases.

Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia

Normal temperatures and high rainfall. Winter crop yield forecast close to average

Winter crop yields are revised slightly upwards due to favourable weather and soil moisture conditions of the beginning of July. Summer crops are delayed in Austria and the Czech Republic, but are progressing well in Slovakia.

Austria and the Czech Republic experienced an exceptionally wet period during the beginning of June, leading to flooding and waterlogging in certain regions. These conditions could be potentially harmful to crop growth, especially for summer crops that were still in an early phase of development during that period. The second dekad of June was significantly warmer than usual, with average daily temperatures up to 4-6°C above normal. These conditions led to a heat wave which persisted for up to six days in some regions. Relative soil moisture remained above average, however, due to the abovementioned abundant rainfall during the first dekad of June. This hot and dry period was followed by a period of abundant rainfall during the 3rd dekad of June, with colder-than-usual conditions in Austria and the Czech Republic and normal temperature conditions in Slovakia. The first half of July was mainly characterised by normal rainfall and temperature conditions, except for the Czech Republic, where conditions were drier than usual.

The excessive soil moisture in Austria and the Czech Republic during the beginning of June contributed to high forecast uncertainty due to the increased vulnerability of crops. Moreover, lower radiation levels during May and June caused below-average biomass accumulation in these countries. These adverse conditions during the previous reporting period were partially compensated by the favourable weather and soil moisture conditions during the first half of July, which contributed to increased biomass accumulation for winter crops during the grain-filling period. The yield forecast of winter crops is therefore revised slightly upwards from that of the previous bulletin. Regarding summer crops, a slight delay in development can still be observed in the Czech Republic as a consequence of low temperatures during the last week of May, and the beginning and last dekad of June. Summer crops are progressing well in Slovakia. Crop yields are therefore forecast to be above the long-term trend for Slovakia, whereas values close to the trend are maintained for Austria and the Czech Republic.

Denmark and Sweden

Good prospects for spring crops

Sufficient rainfall and near-average temperatures provide favourable growth conditions for winter and spring crops. Yield forecasts were revised slightly upwards for winter and spring crops.

During the period from 1 June to 15 July, normal thermal conditions prevailed, with cumulated global radiation above the average in Denmark and southern Sweden. The first half of June was rather dry, but above-average rainfall recorded during the second half of June restored the soil water content. In Denmark, a delay in winter crop development is still observed, while in Sweden the earlier delay has been compensated.

Good weather conditions were observed from the beginning of July, when grain filling occurred. According to our models, wheat and winter barley show above-average leaf area index, cumulated biomass and simulated storage organs, mainly in southern Sweden, so the yield forecasts are revised slightly upwards. Spring barley is at the grain-filling stage and simulated crop growth indicators are above average, especially in Sweden. Growth conditions are also favourable for potato and sugar beet, which show above-average cumulated biomass. The yield forecast for these spring crops is slightly above the average of the past five years.

Finland and the Baltic countries

Yield perspectives remain good but rain needed in the Baltic countries

Warm weather prevails across the region, stimulating crop growth and development. Crops in Finland benefited from abundant rain, but more rain is needed in the Baltic countries, especially Estonia.

Warm weather conditions continued to prevail across the region. In all four countries, temperature accumulation during the period of analysis ranks among the highest in our historical records. The cumulated solar radiation during this period was also higher than average. Rainfall patterns, however, were variable. Rainfall in Finland was significantly above average, whereas the Baltic countries experienced below–average rainfall, especially Estonia where cumulated rainfall was more than 50% below normal levels. These conditions led to a negative water balance in the Baltic countries (crops required more water than rainfall supplied), with soil moisture falling below average values for almost all crops. The rainfall that fell during the last days of the period analysed in Latvia and Lithuania improved the situation, but more rain is required, particularly in Estonia.

So far, the conditions described above have been generally good for crop growth and development, especially for spring crops, which advanced rapidly. However, this rapid growth and development could be hampered by water limitation unless soil moisture levels are replenished. The spring cereals, according to our model, are in the grain-filling stage. The winter crops (confined to Lithuania and, to a lesser extent, Latvia) are well advanced in the season, particularly winter rapeseed which has reached maturity earlier than usual.

High temperatures have shortened the grain-filling stage of this crop, thus limiting its yield potential. Our yield forecast for rapeseed has not been significantly reduced, however, because the spring varieties can compensate this reduction. Winter wheat growth and development is close to average and with good yield prospects.

Our yield forecast for all crops is based on crop simulations. The yield predictions for spring crops in Estonia and Latvia are slightly lowered as a result of unusually low soil moisture during the flowering and grain-filling stages. However, good yields are still foreseen due to expected rainfall events in coming days.

Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg

Improved weather conditions for grain filling and vegetative growth

Predominantly dry weather with near-average sunshine and temperature provided fairly good conditions for crop growth and development. For the main crops, the yield forecast remained close to the values of the previous bulletin or were revised slightly upwards.

After the excessively cold and rainy conditions of May, the current period under review was mainly characterised by dry weather, with temperatures fluctuating around the average. Rain events were mainly confined to the second half of June and the first few days of July. Rainfall cumulated over the period was well below average. Overall, radiation levels cumulated over the period were close to or just above average.

These weather conditions provided a substantially improved environment for crop growth compared to previous months. Simulations indicate that the grain filling of winter cereals and spring barley has been taking place at a rapid pace, approaching normal levels for this time of the year, yet phenological development has not accelerated substantially, indicating that there is still room for further grain accumulation. The growth and development of root crops is now also proceeding at normal levels.

These near-average developments were to a large extent already included in the forecast of the previous Bulletin. Therefore, most of the revised figures show rather minor differences.

Soil moisture content in well-drained non-irrigated areas is rapidly depleting. This is unlikely to seriously affect winter cereals and spring barley crops which are near the end of their growth cycle. However, more rain is needed to sustain yields of maize and other spring and summer crops. As a dry period is forecast, the yield potential of these crops remains vulnerable.

Greece and Cyprus

Positive outlook for spring crops

Meteorological conditions in Greece indicate a positive outlook for spring crops. Yields are confirmed or revised slightly higher. Harvesting of winter cereals completed in both Greece and Cyprus.

Greece experienced a 10-day period (between 16 and 26 of June) of high temperatures and very little precipitation, which created good conditions for completion of the harvesting of winter cereals. However, there are concerns that the rainfall during the previous period (first dekad of June) may have affected the quality of the harvested winter cereals. Since 26 June, temperatures fluctuated around the long-term average and the country received considerable amounts of well-distributed precipitation.

Overall, these weather conditions have been favourable for spring crops. Grain maize passed the flowering phase in most regions and is currently at the grain-filling stage. The potential aboveground biomass is also simulated to be above the long-term average for the other spring crops (i.e. potato, sunflower and sugar beet). As a result, the values of the previous bulletin are confirmed or revised slightly upwards.

In Cyprus, temperatures were around the long-term average during the observation period, whereas no precipitation was recorded. Here, the harvesting of winter cereals also completed. The rather negative yield forecasts of the last bulletin are maintained.


The period of persistent rainfall ended on time for normal harvest

The period of abundant rainfall in Croatia ended just in time for the harvesting of winter crops. Spring cereals are in the late ripening stage. Soil moisture reserves are decreasing rapidly and rain is required for summer crops.

The period analysed started with below-average temperatures followed by a heat wave in the second half of June that lasted almost one week. Rainfall was lower than usual.

The hot and dry weather accelerated the ripening and grain drying of the winter cereals and winter rapeseed. Harvesting started on time and under good weather conditions. Spring cereals are close to maturity with good yield prospects. The heat wave of the second half of June did not significantly affect crop growth because there was still enough soil moisture. The period of low precipitation that followed the heat wave was favourable for the ripening of the cereals and harvesting, but soil moisture for summer crops was further depleted. Summer crops are now facing soil-water deficits that could negatively affect yields. Additional rain during the coming days could still prevent any negative effects. According to the weather forecast, however, no rain is expected. The risk is highest for grain maize that is close to the flowering stage, the stage that is most sensitive to water deficits.

Our yield forecast for all crops is based on crop simulations. The yield predictions for winter crops are close to the five-year average and similar to those of last year. The current yield forecast for summer crops is higher than the five-year average and much higher than that of last year, when severe summer drought led to significantly reduced yields.

Black Sea area


Warm temperatures have accelerated the crop cycle

Warm temperatures speeded up the crop cycle, particularly in the southern and eastern regions of the country. These conditions, which are particularly affecting the eastern regions, are forecasted to slightly depress the overall yields of winter cereals and spring barley. Conditions for grain maize are optimal, particularly in the south.

The warm temperatures observed during spring have persisted. Since the beginning of June, average temperatures are at least 2°C above average in the eastern half of Ukraine and 1°C above average in the western half.

In the western regions, the slightly above-average temperatures and abundant rainfall since the beginning of the year contributed to optimal conditions for almost all crops.

In the south, after being affected by dry conditions in May, the Krym and Khersons’ka regions received substantial rainfall. Rainfall accumulated since the beginning of June is at least 40 mm above average in Odes’ka, Krym, Mykolayivs’ka and Khersons’ka.

In the eastern half of the country, remote sensing and crop model indicators depict a decrease in yields which is attributed to the shortened crop cycle caused by warm temperatures. Therefore, yields forecasts of barley and wheat are maintained slightly lower than the five-year average. The dry conditions observed earlier in the season in Krym and Kherson’ka also contribute to the decrease in yields.

Conditions for grain maize are optimal since temperatures are warmer than normal and substantial rainfall was observed at the end of June and beginning of July. Forecasts are thus revised upwards and are now higher than the five-year average.


Above-average crop yields expected

Favourable weather conditions indicate a good yield for grain maize. Winter wheat and winter barley have completed their growth cycle with an above-average yield forecast.

The time window considered in the present analysis (up to July 15) registers continued favourable temperature development, above-average cumulated global radiation and well-distributed rainfall events in the barley- and wheat-producing areas of the country (i.e. central Anatolian regions comprising of Konya, Ankara and Kirikkale) where winter barley and winter wheat have now completed their growth cycles. The final yield forecast is greater than the 5-year-average values for both crops.

Grain maize is in its flowering stage. The modelled crop development stage and the leaf area index are well above long-term average values. The prevailing meteorological conditions in the main production areas (Adana, Hatay, Bati Karadeniz) also continued to be favourable. Therefore the forecast for maize was revised upwards, to slightly above the 5-year-average value.

European Russia and Belarus

European Russia

Ample winter wheat production

Above-average winter wheat yields are expected, despite the high temperatures and unevenly distributed rainfall in southern regions. The southern part of the Volga Federal District is affected by drought. The growth and development of spring and summer crops are satisfactory, but would benefit from more rain.

From 1 June to 15 July, temperatures persistently exceeded the average in a wide strip between the White Sea and the Caspian Sea. A less obvious but perceptible positive thermal anomaly was also observed in eastern regions of European Russia.

Rainfall cumulated over this period was plentiful in the western half of Russia, where it typically reached 70-120 mm; with even higher values in extended regions between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. By contrast, low precipitation levels in Saratovskaya, Orenburgskaya, Samarskaya, and Ulyanovskaya Oblasts in the Volga District led to soil drought conditions. The rains in the Central and Southern Federal Districts helped to ease the previous water deficiency, thus leading to a partial recovery of the maize crops in these areas.

Phenological development of all crops is significantly advanced due to the above-average thermal conditions experienced since the beginning of the season. The harvesting of winter cereals started two-three weeks earlier than usual due to abnormally warm weather conditions in the Southern District. Abundant rainfall in July hampered the harvesting in several areas but did not cause significant damage.

Biomass accumulation of winter wheat is above average in the main producing regions. Therefore, good yields are expected. The yield potential of maize is also above average in the Southern Federal District, with the exception of some northern territories. However, despite promising high biomass accumulation, an analysis of satellite images and model simulation results indicates that above-average yields of spring cereals and maize in the Central and Volga Okrug, are at risk due to low soil moisture content and the shortened flowering and grain-filling periods.


Crops are benefiting from warm temperatures

The average temperatures remained higher than usual since the beginning of June, contributing to rapid crop growth. Conditions are optimal and yields are forecasted to be higher than average.

Average temperatures remained 2.5°C higher than usual since 1 June in most parts of Belarus, with just a few days in June that had below-average temperatures. The third dekad of June was particularly warm with maximum temperatures reaching 30°C. Crop cycles for spring barley and grain maize are ahead by one dekad.

Thanks to the latest rainfall events, cumulated rainfall since 1 June has been close to the average in most regions aside from Gomel and Mogilev where they were below average. However, the previous rainfalls since the beginning of spring are still ensuring optimal conditions in these regions.

Crop model indicators as well as remote sensing indicators depict a positive scenario for all crops. Therefore, above-average yield forecasts for winter and spring crops are maintained.

Maghreb countries

Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria

Seasonal summary 2012-2013

A very good season in Morocco and parts of Algeria. Tunisia has experienced less beneficial weather and yields are expected to suffer.

Morocco has experienced very beneficial weather for crop development and growth over the entire growing season. Temperatures have been mild to warm throughout, and most agricultural areas have received abundant rainfall. Remote sensing indicators have consistently shown canopy vegetation to be in above-average condition. A very good harvest is expected.

Tunisia, on the other hand, has received below-average rainfall throughout the growing season, and yields are expected to suffer as a result of this. However, this shortfall in rain has not been experienced by all parts of the country equally. Parts of northern Tunisia, where wheat is predominantly grown, have continued to receive some rain, and soft wheat yields are not expected to be affected as much as durum wheat and barley yields.

Algeria, lying between Morocco and Tunisia, has experienced both extremes. Western Algeria has experienced mild temperatures and abundant rainfall, has shown above average canopy vegetation conditions, and is expected to have good cereal yields. Eastern Algeria, on the other hand, has received below-average rainfall, and expected yields are not as high as in the west. On balance, above-average yields are expected at the national level, but not as high as those in Morocco.

Yield predictions for all three countries remain as in the last bulletin.

July 2013


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