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Europe Mars Bulletins

28 January 2014

MARS Bulletin Vol. 22 No. 1 (2014) (Crop monitoring in Europe)MARS Bulletin Vol. 22 No. 1 (2014) (Crop monitoring in Europe)

Supplied by: MARS BULLETIN – EC - JRC

Hardening of winter cereals significantly delayed in western and central Europe

The hardening of winter cereals is significantly delayed in western and central Europe. Hardening is a bio-physiological process, assessed with computer simulation models, whereby plants gain low-temperature tolerance that allows them to survive the freezing conditions of winter. Since mid-December, most of Europe experienced an exceptionally mild period with a 2 to 7°C positive thermal anomaly, slowing down or delaying the hardening process from Ireland to Poland. A decrease in frost tolerance has even be observed in southern France, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and some other areas of the Balkan Peninsula where a large part of the crops is only slightly hardened. Little or no low-temperature tolerance has been reached in the coastal region of the Mediterranean Sea. On the other hand, weather conditions in Russia, most of Ukraine and Belarus where sufficiently cold to allow for the full or almost full hardening of winter crops.

The weather forecast until the beginning of February indicates a significant temperature decrease in central and eastern Europe. Consequently, winter cereals are likely to complete the hardening process in the Baltic countries, Belarus, southern Ukraine and most of Poland and the Czech Republic. Frost tolerance is also expected to increase significantly in eastern regions of Germany as well as in Austria, Hungary, Romania and countries of the Balkan Peninsula.

No frost kill has been simulated in Europe so far, thanks to the warmer-than-usual weather conditions. Model calculations based on the weather forecast for the next 10 days also predict no significant frost damage. The current situation is delicate, however, considering the weakly hardened crops in Europe’s central regions. If the cold air intrusion is more severe than expected and accompanied by shallow snow cover, frost kill events could occur in eastern Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, the Baltic countries, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, depending on the local conditions.

January 2014


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