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Europe Mars Bulletins

30 August 2013

MARS Bulletin Vol. 21 No. 8 (Crop monitoring in Europe)MARS Bulletin Vol. 21 No. 8 (Crop monitoring in Europe)

Supplied by: MARS BULLETIN – EC - JRC

Outlook remains good despite hot and dry conditions

Since the beginning of July, major parts of Europe experienced weather conditions with above-average temperatures and below-average rainfall. Dry and hot conditions have particularly affected summer crop growth in northern Italy and parts of Hungary, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia. Abundant rainfall was recorded over large parts of the British Isles, Scandinavia, the Baltic countries, south-eastern France and the Alpine region.

On balance, the EU-28 outlook for cereals remains favourable and well above both last year’s levels and the 5-year average, and largely confirms the forecast of July. The forecast for soft wheat is revised slightly upwards as compared to last month’s figures, mainly thanks to higher forecast yields for the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania and Austria. The forecasts for durum wheat, barley and rye remain practically unaltered. The forecast for triticale was revised slightly upward. Rapeseed yield estimates for the EU-28 are also revised slightly upward, mainly thanks to good performance in Poland and Romania. The forecast for maize was reduced, however, mainly due to a strong downward revision for Hungary, the EU's third largest grain maize producer. The forecasts for the other main spring and summer crops: sunflower, sugar beet and potato, are also (yet slightly) reduced at EU-28 level.

Pastures in Europe – update remote sensing monitoring

Favourable weather conditions support high yield potential.

In most of the countries analysed, high biomass production levels are expected, thanks to above-average temperatures in July and August. The effects of the unfavourable weather conditions at the end of the spring are, however, still noticeable in the UK and Ireland, and in the fodder maize areas of northern Italy.

The current season has been positive for Spain and Portugal. Biomass production levels are the highest of the past 15 years in the Dehesa area in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula. In northern Spain, lack of precipitation during the past month has resulted in a moderate decrease in green biomass. The outlook for the season as a whole remains, however, positive. In Italy, crop growth in the fodder maize areas of Lombardia, Veneto and Piemonte has only partially recovered after unfavourable weather conditions in spring. Despite warm temperatures and intermittent rainfall of the previous month, the expectations for the rest of the season remain, therefore, below an average year.

In France, the formation of biomass in almost all pasture and forage areas is substantially higher than average, supported by a general temperature increase during the past month. The outlook for this season is positive, despite the adverse weather experienced in spring. In the Benelux region, biomass production levels were also high during July thanks to the unusually warm temperatures registered during the second half of the month. Cold weather conditions characterised most of the growing season in the UK and Ireland, and the effects of these unfavourable weather conditions are still noticeable, although temperatures in July were above average. Moreover, heavy storms since the end of July have limited production rates. By contrast, pasture development in the northernmost regions of Germany and Denmark has recovered to average conditions during July and the first week of August. Thanks to the rainfall during the past two weeks expectations for the forthcoming months are positive.

In southern Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the analysis of satellite images reveals an early senescence of pastures, associated with the relatively hot and dry conditions that have prevailed since the second half of July. Rainfall is expected in the coming days (see Section 1.3) and could mitigate negative effects on grasslands. Early senescence of pastures is also observed in Romania and Hungary, where, however, the effect is still incipient, and biomass formation has been substantially higher than usual during June and most of July. The expectations for the second half of August are therefore around average.

In Poland and the Baltic countries, weather conditions remained favourable during the second half of July and August. The amount of biomass in grasslands substantially exceeds the values of an average year, and this season is one of the best of the past 10 years.

August 2013


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