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Europe Mars Bulletins

24 July 2012

Europe Mars Bulletin Vol. 20 No. 07 Europe Mars Bulletin Vol. 20 No. 07

Crop Monitoring in Europe - extremely hot and dry in the south and east, overly wet in the west. This Bulletin covers the period from 21 June until 20 July.
Supplied by: MARS BULLETIN – EC - JRC

Extremely Hot and Dry in the South and East, Overly Wet in the West

Persisting high temperatures in southern and south east Europe coupled with scarce rain put plants in difficulties. Main countries affected are Spain, Italy, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria as well as Ukraine. Harvest of winter cereals in southern European countries is almost completed and well advanced in Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary due to an early maturity of the crops.

Western Europe experienced a rainy period with unsettled weather and below average temperatures. This added up to healthy conditions in France, Germany and Poland for the last growing stages of winter cereals. Rain amounts were even excessive in the United Kingdom. In France and Germany the harvest has started in a timely fashion interrupted by rains whereas in UK winter barley has started with a delay and further delays for the remaining winter cereals are expected due to the bad weather.

Compared to our last Bulletin soft wheat yield at EU 27 is slightly revised down mainly due to lower yields now forecast for UK, Romania, Austria and Spain. Also spring barley yield is revised down as the forecast for Spain was lowered again but still being close to the 5 years’ average. In Romania, Hungary and Italy the recent negative weather conditions for maize led to a decrease of the forecasts resulting in a decrease of grain maize yield of 9 % at EU 27 level compared to the last forecasts issued.

Areas of Concern

Agro-Meteorological Overview

Persisting high temperatures in southern and south east Europe coupled with scarce rain put plants in difficulties. Main countries affected are Spain, Italy, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria as well as Ukraine. Western Europe experienced a rainy period with unsettled weather and below average temperatures. This added up to healthy conditions in France, Germany and Poland for the last growing stages of winter cereals. Now dry periods are needed for a successful harvest. Rain amounts were even excessive rains in the United Kingdom.

The period considered from 21 June until 15 July shows a continuation from the previous weather period described: rather cold and unsettled weather in central and northern Europe caused by the unusually southerly location of the jet stream and persisting high temperatures in south and south-east Europe resulting from air masses with African origin.

The heat waves are persistent around the Mediterranean Sea, Hungary, Romania as well as Bulgaria and especially the number of days above 35°C deviates considerably from the long term average in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Greece, Italy and Ukraine. Also the Czech Republic saw a couple of days above 35°C and consecutive days above 30°C. As a consequence temperature accumulation in these countries was well above the average. Also Poland, although not facing such extreme high values shows above average temperature accumulation. The heat waves mainly intersected with the ripening and maturation of winter cereals negatively influencing the yield potential as the hot temperatures were linked with dry conditions. Strong rainfall deficits in the period monitored occurred in Spain prolonging the dry conditions as well as in Italy intensifying the water deficit creating difficult conditions for the summer crops. Despite the rains in May for Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria soil moisture contents start to deplete rapidly under summer crops as also in these countries the period was very dry and evaporation demands due to the high temperatures are very high.

The north and central part of Europe presents a quite different picture, here summer weather is changeable, temperatures are on the lower side without high maximum temperatures and rain is plentiful. Germany, France, United Kingdom, Ireland, Benelux, Denmark, Sweden and Finland just show average temperature accumulation and fewer days above 30 degrees on average. A large surplus of precipitation is recorded for Great Britain continuing the overly wet season and in conjunction with low sunshine rates diminishing yield potentials. Previous concerns of too dry weather in Germany are lapsed; the last weeks brought a clear surplus of precipitation distributed over a high number of rainy days beneficial for the grain filling of winter cereals. The same is true for central and western France, but now dry days are needed to ensure the harvest and not to risk delays in central Europe. All countries bordering the Nordic Sea have seen a wet period too causing some delay in crop development.

Weather Forecast for the Coming Days: 16 July to 28 July

Europe will remain divided between the North, characterised by low temperatures and relatively wet conditions, and the South, where scalding temperatures will strike the Iberian Peninsula and the Black Sea Area. The exception is the Central part of Southern Europe where intense precipitation will bring heavy rainfall and somewhat milder temperatures.

The most striking meteorological feature in the forthcoming analysis period is an intense precipitation event that starts over Austria and Northern Italy, and moves south around the Adriatic Sea and back north to provide heavy rainfall in many parts of Italy, in former Yugoslavia, Austria, Hungary and later in Poland, Baltic counties and western Romania. Temperature sums over this area sill remain close to average, or even below average. On the other hand, both the Iberian Peninsula in the west and the Black Sea area to the east will be characterised by dry and very hot conditions. In the southern parts of Spain, Romania, Ukraine and Russia, along with places in Greece and Turkey, it is foreseen that there will be many days reaching temperatures above 35degC.

The forecast for Northern Europe is colder-than-usual temperature sums. Some rain is still forecasted for the first days from Ireland until the Baltic countries, but later (after 22 July), a dry period is foreseen which may provide an opportunity to harvest some cereals. The reason behind this change is a return of the jet stream to its more normal northern trajectory, allowing warm and dry air across northern Europe while more rain will fall in Scotland and Scandinavia. Unfortunately, the end of this weather forecast period sees a return of precipitation in Benelux and Scandinavian countries and also England, where record precipitation had already been seen this spring.

Remote Sensing - Observed Canopy Conditions

Average conditions for western and central Europe. Good canopy development in Baltic and eastern countries. Critical conditions in the north Black Sea regions and in Russia.

The cluster map displays the fAPAR (fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation) behaviour from the beginning of the season, 1st of March, to the 10th of July, as compared to the same values in the calculated long term average year (LTA / 1998 – 2011). The regions highlighted by the blue colour had quite an anticipated start of the season and biomass development ranged around higher values than LTA ones for the whole growing season. Only in the last month values are close to the average, around the seasonal maximum, as in Baltic countries, or at beginning of senescence, as in Great Britain. The East Anglia fAPAR profile is given as further example. The reduction of the latest fAPAR values could be influenced by the persistent cloud coverage of the latest weeks. The yellow profile describes an average biomass development of the majority of the arable lands in Europe. In France and Germany main agricultural districts the canopy development trend always ranged around the average with a slightly positive accumulation, if compared to the LTA, during springtime, as displayed by fAPAR graphs for Centre region (FR). In Italy the fAPAR signal for Po valley has a similar behaviour with the exception of Emilia Romagna croplands. Here summer crops are suffering from persistent high temperatures and a relevant lack of precipitation. The related fAPAR graph displays the ongoing situation. The red curve displays critical biomass development for the whole season: a slightly delay in development then followed by lack in canopy accumulation. In these regions, western and central Europe, the season is finished (Spain) or at harvesting (Austria, Slovakia), the profile of Niederoestereich (AT) is given as example. In southern and eastern Ukraine canopy development suffers due to the late start, the very high temperatures and the low rain rate. As displayed by the fAPAR graph for the region of Dinipropetrovs’ka the current season fAPAR values range quite below the average. The western Ukraine regions are facing average conditions. The pink profile describes arable land where crops moved from delayed stages of springtime to a canopy development better than average. Similar development is mainly visible in Romania ( see the given example of Sud Muntenia) and Hungary, mainly driven by growth of the summer crops.

In the same class are displayed the frost kill affected areas of France, Germany and Poland. Here fAPAR displays positive outcomes for the spring crops biomass development as visible in the graph for Wielkopolskie region. The arable lands marked with dark pink colour are facing unfavourable conditions as displayed in the fAPAR graph for Rostovskaya (Russia) region. The movement of crops development to advanced stages in spring, thanks to the high temperatures, counted for high water demand not supported by the precipitation rate. These conditions led to a critical early senesce and allow negative yield expectations. In the light blue arable land the canopy behaviour is similar but with a stronger impact of the dry period. In violet colour areas with less relevant arable land where season is already finished.

Country Analysis

European Union

Harvest of winter cereals in southern European countries is almost completed and well advanced in Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary due to an early maturity of the crops. In France and Germany the harvest has started in a timely fashion interrupted by rains whereas in UK winter barley has started with a delay and further delays for the remaining winter cereals are expected due to the bad weather. Compared to our last Bulletin soft wheat yield at EU 27 is slightly revised down mainly due to lower yields now forecast for UK, Romania, Austria and Spain. Also spring barley yield is revised down as the forecast for Spain was lowered again but still being close to the 5 years’ average. In Romania, Hungary and Italy the recent negative weather conditions for maize led to a sharp decrease of the forecasts resulting in a decrease of grain maize yield of 9 % at EU 27 level compared to the last forecasts issued.

France - Winter Cereals Harvest on-going, Good Results Expected

Winter cereals harvest is on-going in the south and will start in the next weeks in the centre and north with good expectations. Meteorological conditions depict a positive outlook for summer crops.

The summer is more humid than usual, with precipitations in the centre and north exceeding by 50% the seasonal values during the last month. By contrast, in Midi-Pyrenees’, Aquitaine and Auvergne the cumulated rainfall remained close to the average. The temperatures have been close to the seasonal values in almost all the regions.

Under these conditions the harvest of winter cereals is currently on-going without constraints in the South, where durum wheat is almost completely harvested. In the central and north regions, the abundant rainfalls registered during summer have benefited considerably soft wheat and winter barley during grain filling, and thus expectations are quite positive for the harvest. However, during ripening and maturity excess of rain could eventually affect the yield potential in Picardie, Nord Pas de Calais and Loire valley.

Spring barley is at the end of the grain filling stage and the crop indicators suggest a high yield potential. Especially in Champagne-Ardenne and Lorraine – where it has been used to replace soft wheat damaged by winter kill – the expectations are quite promising.

The favourable weather permitted an adequate development of the summer crops as well. Grain maize is currently flowering in most of the regions, and indicators reveal that leaf area development is substantially higher than seasonal values. Sunflower exhibits biomass accumulation slightly above the average as well.

Sugar beets have just started yield formation, whereas potatoes are in a more advanced stage, presenting high biomass levels thanks to the intense precipitations received in the north east.

Picardie (FR)

Germany - Grain Filling of Winter Cereals Benefitted from Rain

Rainfall assures adequate grain-filling for cereals and partly compensates for the dry spring. Yield forecasts are revised up for winter cereals now at 5 years average level. Rapeseed is expected to yield below the 5 years average. Prospects for root crops and maize are good.

The weather from 21 June until 15 July was rather unsettled in central and northern Germany. Temperatures remained low with average values mostly below 20 degrees resulting in below average temperature accumulation. A deficit of incoming radiation is recorded as well. More stable weather conditions prevailed in southern Germany (Baden-Württemberg, Bayern and parts of Sachsen) with seasonal temperatures and sunshine duration leading to a surplus of accumulated temperatures. Rainfall was abundant for the whole country and distributed over a high amount of rainy days. Also the regions which were previously too dry now received abundant rainfall. Due to the unstable atmospheric conditions some of the rainfall events were rather heavy with strong thunderstorms causing some flooding locally.

These weather conditions translate into good growing conditions during the grain filling and ripening for winter cereals in the south, whereas average conditions characterize the remaining part of the country. Consequently yields winter cereals. Soft wheat and rye are still at ripening whereas the winter barley harvest has just started and a couple of dry days is now needed. Rape seed, which is ripening earlier did benefit from the rain to a lesser extent, especially in Mecklenburg- Vorpommern and Brandenburg where the dry conditions in spring diminished the yield potential. Rape seed yield is forecast below the 5 years average.

Root crops benefited from the rain in June and show good prospects for the coming harvest. Maize is still in the vegetative phase, soil moisture contents all over the country are satisfying and the warm weather in the south accelerated the crop growth. An adequate leaf area expansion is simulated for all the main maize producing regions.


Poland - Overall Positive Conditions for Crops

Two zones of different weather conditions: hot and dry south-east and cooler and wet north-west. All crops developed promisingly and the modelled crop parameters point to average or above-average yields.

Average air temperature was 2 - 4°C higher in the south-eastern half of the country, while in the remaining north-western thermal conditions were close to the average. The south-east experienced a heat wave of more than a week (10 days in Podkarpackie) with temperatures above 30°C. Comparable high temperatures were observed also in the central part of Poland, but only 1-2 days during the period from 21 June until 15 July. The Northwest received more rain than on average: + 66% in Dolnoslaskie and + 195% in Lubuskie. The south-eastern regions received only two third of the normal amount of rain. The relative soil moisture varied from around 50% above average in Lubuskie and Wielkopolskie to 35% below in Opolskie and Lodzkie.

Winter wheat is at the grain filling stage in the north-eastern half of the country, while in the remaining areas already at ripening. In the main production areas of Lubelskie and Dolnoslaskie, it is slightly advanced. Dry and hot conditions in south-eastern regions disturbed the formation of grains, whereas in the cooler and wetter western regions (e.g. Wielkopolskie) the storage organs reached above-normal values. Yield forecast was confirmed. Spring barley is slightly advanced and in ripening stage and is forecast to reach average yields. Rye matured throughout the country. Yield is expected to be higher than normal in the West, while the main production areas Mazowieckie and Lodzkie show modelled storage organs weights lower than average.

From spring onwards the season was favourable for rapeseed development. The forecast is increased due to the positive growing conditions in Zachodnio-pomorskie, Wielkopolskie and Dolnoslaskie. Model outputs point to a good yield also for potatoes and sugar beet. Average biomass accumulation of potatoes was observed in Mazowieckie and Lodzkie. Sugar beet is in yield formation stage and all modelled crop parameters lead to a yield slightly above the last 5-year average. Grain maize is advanced and now flowering. In the main production areas the biomass accumulation is slightly above the average. Yield is forecast 11% higher than the last 5-year average.

UK and Ireland - Excessive Rain and Lack of Sun Lead to Revising Forecasts Down

The accumulation of unfavourable meteorological conditions strongly hampers the prospects of good yields despite a possible arrival of normal summer weather thanks to changes in the jet stream.

Important rainfall and low solar radiation have characterized the period of analysis (21 June to 15 July). These have contributed to making the period running from 1 April up to 15 July the wettest on record in our database (running since 1975), over the arable land throughout UK and Ireland. This period is also characterized by the lowest recorded average global radiation in Ireland and South-Western England. This accumulation of unfavourable meteorological conditions is expected to have jeopardized yield potential for all crops by subjecting them to intense disease pressure, limiting photosynthesis and exposing them to lodging. All forecasts have thus been revised down since our last Bulletin, when it was considered that yield potential could be maintained (at least for England, less so for Ireland) if proper summer conditions settled in.

According to current weather forecasts, these may yet arrive after one more week of rain, as the jet stream is expected to move northwards to a more normal position. This could enable a fairer end to cereals in Ireland and England, and provide a much-needed boost to summer crops, but it may worsen the already bad situation of spring barley in Scotland as the wet front moves north. Rapeseed prospects remain low: the crop has reached maturity suffering from lodging after extensive rain during flowering and will not benefit from any improvement in the weather. Sugarbeet growth is average in the main growing region in Eastern England, but is fairly below average in the Midlands. Potatoes are faring similarly well in eastern England, but the potential accumulation of storage organs is much delayed in Ireland and Scotland.

East of England (UK)
Cumulated Rainfall Period: 01/04 - 15/07

Spain and Portugal - Persistent Dry Conditions, Yields Revised Down Again

Absence of precipitation during the last month limited yields of winter and spring cereals, currently being harvested. The outlook for sunflower is negative as well.

Meteorological conditions during the last month, with no significant precipitation and hot temperatures in most of the regions (with the exception of the Cantabrian basin) have diminished the yield potential yield of non-irrigated crops as the lack of rainfall has been decisive in the critical grain filling stage.

The harvest of soft wheat and spring barley is about to finish in Spain and the forecast yields, due to the adverse meteorological conditions, have been revised down.

Sunflower has been negatively influenced by the adverse dry conditions –especially in Andalucía and Alentejo– with crop indicators exhibiting a biomass accumulation substantially lower than the average. The crop is currently at ripening in the South while in grain filling in the rest of the regions being advanced about one week compared to an average year.

The water stored in the reservoirs is about two third of the capacity in central and southern Spanish regions, which is lower than seasonal values but doesn’t imply severe irrigation restrictions, at least for the moment. Therefore irrigated crops did not suffer from substantial water constraints.

Thus, the perspectives for grain maize remain positive, as a consequence of the high temperatures. The crop is currently at flowering/grain filling stage in all regions. This represents an advance of about 10 days compared to an average season. For sugar beet and potatoes the forecast yield is close to the average of the last years.

Castilla Y Leon (ES)

Italy and Slovenia - Dry and Hot Conditions

Heat waves and dry conditions boosted transpiration demands to very high values. This will adversely affect yields of summer crops. Winter cereal yields are above average as compared to those from previous years.

During the observation period, from 21 June until 15 July, temperatures were high and rose to above 35.°C for several days, especially in Emilia Romagna, Veneto and in Central and South Italy (Puglia and Sicily). In this period significant rainfall was recorded only in some areas of Piemonte, in the alpine and pre-alpine regions and in Slovenia; in the rest of Italy the cumulated rainfall has been substantially lower (-50 %) than the long-term average. The dry and hot conditions boosted transpiration demands to very high values with negative impacts on summer crop growth and irrigated crops could also suffer from possible irrigation restrictions in some areas of North and Central Italy. Potential evapotranspiration in Emilia Romagna, Veneto, and Central Italy has been higher (30%) than the long-term average.

Grain maize has reached grain-filling experiencing good conditions throughout the first part of the cycle. The high temperatures and the lack of precipitation during the last weeks had a negative impact on flowering and on the leaf area expansion, which is significantly below the average. The negative impact of this condition will be even more serious in case of a lack of irrigation in Emilia-Romagna and Veneto. Sugar beet is in the yield formation stage and is accumulating sucrose into the tuber. Dry conditions and high level of transpiration could affect final yield especially in Marche and Emilia Romagna in a negative way. Potato and sunflower are showing advancement in the development stage and yields of these crops could be significantly affected by water stress conditions, if the current dry spell will continue. Yield estimates have been revised downwards for summer crops.

The harvest of winter cereals ended before the heat wave and without significant delays. According to our models the satisfactory yield expectation foreseen has been confirmed and even a good quality can be expected. Expectations for soft and durum wheat are higher than the average of the last five years, except in Puglia, due to water stress.

Emilia-Romagna (IT)

Hungary - Decreasing Yield Expectations

Dry and extremely hot weather notably diminished the yield outlook of summer crops in Hungary. The ripening of winter cereals was unfavourably accelerated and harvest started 10 days earlier than usual. The weather did not hamper the harvesting. Winter wheat yield forecast is moderate.

The temperature was higher than average with the only exception of 3-4 milder days between mid-June & mid-July. Two heat waves penalized the crop production between June 16 - 22 and June 29 - July 11. During these hot spells the daily maximum temperatures exceeded 30°C, but in the first 10 days of July frequently heightened to +34°C - +39°C setting new records. The development of summer crops accelerated further and now indicates 1-2 weeks advance.

After favourable rains in May, the precipitation tendency decreased from mid-June. Scarce and insufficient rainfall was reported from the southern and eastern regions. In these areas the precipitation deficiency reached 50-100% causing serious water shortage. The northern and western half of Hungary received 40-70 mm precipitation during the last 30 days, but this water income still was not sufficient to fulfil the increased water demand. The dry weather facilitated a fast harvest of cereals until now. The grain quality of wheat is very good due to dry weather conditions, partly compensating for the lower production.

The sudden high temperatures of the first hot spell might have penalised mainly the cereals in the last part of grain filling. During the second hot wave the extreme temperatures and low soil moisture contents caused heat and water stress for sunflower and maize in the most sensitive flowering phase, when good water supply is crucial for the yield formation. There are arising concerns about the future water availability of spring crops. The biomass accumulation of all summer crops decreased considerably and consequently the yield forecast was revised down sharply.

Romania - Stressing Drought Conditions

A severe drought developed in Romania. Very high temperatures and a concurrent precipitation deficit led to intensive stress for summer crops decreasing biomass accumulation, canopy extension and consequently the yield expectations. Winter cereals are less affected by the dry weather which guaranteed good harvesting conditions.

The period from mid-June until mid-July was the hottest since 1975 and only comparable to 2002. Daily maximum temperatures continuously remained above average and several times the daytime temperature was +6 - +8°C warmer than usual. In this period Romania experienced 18-25 hot days (Tmax>30°C) which is 16-19 days more than usual. The potential evapotranspiration was also unique high. The precipitation showed a big spatial variability, but generally remained below the norm and totalled up to 30 mm only as country-wise average. The south-western regions received none or just light rainfall while some central, eastern and northern areas enjoyed more than 40-50 mm. The climatic water balance is the lowest in the long term historical records for this period indicating 90-180 mm deficit. Initially the soil moisture was beneficially high, but decreased quickly below the average. The actual level of soil moisture under maize, sunflower, potato and sugar beet is on a critically low level and the signs of water shortage are already visible. All crops were affected by the heat waves, but damages are expected to be more pronounced for spring crops. The phenological development is anticipated by 1-3 weeks. The leaf area index for summer crops started to reduce prematurely, especially due to foliar senescence induced by heat stress. The photosynthetic activity lowered to a minimal level and the prosperous course of biomass accumulation was broken. The worsening situation is easily detectable on the remote sensing images too. The previous optimistic yield forecast was severely revised down with negative outlook in the case of further dry and hot weather.

Bulgaria - Dry and Hot Conditions will Lower Summer Crop Yields

Since mid-June weather conditions have become very hot and dry and this is negatively reflected on crop growth and development. The precipitation hasn’t been enough to keep average level soil moisture to support the increased evapotranspiration demand caused by the high temperatures and irradiance values. The biomass accumulation of summer crops has been reduced and crop development was accelerated further due to above average thermal conditions reaching 1-2 weeks advance for maize, potato and sunflower.

The ten days of of June started with a heat wave, but the daily maximum temperatures moderated slightly in the last week of June, though mostly remained above the average. In the first days of July a long spell of hot weather started and in the middle of July maximum temperatures exceeded even +40°C in Severozapaden and Severo-Tsentralen regions, and in wide areas reached +36°C inducing severe heat stress and touching unfavourably maize and sunflower both being in flowering or grain filling.

The rainfall became scarce in June. Some moderate precipitation events happened resulting in less than 30 mm water income during the last 30 days. Smaller spots along the Romanian border received abundant rain, but big areas of South-Bulgaria had only negligible (less than 10 mm) precipitation. The favourable high initial moisture content of soils decreased quickly and drought conditions extended to wide areas of the country in July. The actual soil moisture conditions are slightly better in north-eastern and south-western territories, but the water deficit is pronounced everywhere. Winter crops haven’t suffered too much as there crop cycle is almost finished. In the case of summer crops a sudden drop is visible in simulated total biomass production and storage organs accumulation. The canopy extension has also decreased prematurely and considerably. Persisting dryness in the following part of July could significantly diminish further the current yield outlook.

Austria, Czech Republic and Slovakia - Heat Wave Reduced Yields

Extremely high temperatures may have affected yields in Austria and Western Slovakia. In the Czech Republic the heat wave was less accentuated and the effects on crops should be less pronounced. Crop yield forecasts are generally revised downwards.

The last week of June and the first ten days of July were characterized by an intense heat wave with maximum temperatures up to 36°C. This was especially true in Austria and Slovakia (), while in the Czech Republic temperatures reached 32°C. As a consequence, cumulated active temperatures are significantly higher than the long-term average (LTA). Rainfalls were generally around or even above the average, with the exception of the Burgenland region in Austria, where significant rain arrived only at the end of the monitored period. Nevertheless, this rainfall might not adequately support the high evapotranspiration rate determined by the persisting heat wave. This was especially true in western Slovakia where the climatic water balance was negative during the whole period and where crops were already suffering from a drought period.

Crop yield forecast are generally revised downwards mainly due to the extreme high temperatures that stressed both winter and spring crops. Winter crops grain filling period might have been shortened with consequently lower yields, while summer crops needs to be monitored, especially maize grain during the coming delicate stage of flowering.

Denmark and Sweden - Good Prospects for Winter Crops

Wet conditions and temperatures close to seasonal values allowing favourable growth conditions, but drier weather is needed to maintain the positive forecast for winter and spring crops.

During the observation period, from 21 June until 15 July, temperatures around the long-term average (LTA) were recorded. In this period rainfall was more than 50% above average in Denmark, and more than 100% above average in most of Sweden, mainly in Östra Mellansverige.

Cumulated active temperatures (Tbase = 0oC) have been higher than average in Denmark and Sweden, and winter crop development stages are advanced in Denmark and in Södra Sverige. Winter crops are reaching ripening stage and growing conditions have remained favourable.

According to our model, wheat and barley shows above-average storage organ accumulation and yield estimates are higher than the average of the previous years.

Rapeseed has reached maturity slightly in advance and yield is still expected to be higher than previous years. Spring barley is at grain filling stage in Denmark and southern Sweden, with growth conditions around the average of the last years. The growth conditions have been favourable for potato and sugar beet and cumulated biomass is slightly above the average for both crops.

Finland and Baltic States - Rainfall Accumulation Higher than Average

Abundant rainfall is characterizing the whole season and causing a certain delay in crop development.

Meteorological conditions from 21 June until 15 July have been similar to the previous period. Rainfall accumulation is higher than average in all countries, reaching maximum values of 68% above the average in Finland. The number of days with significant rain is also higher than average. Due to this temperature accumulation, as well as cumulative global radiation are very close or below the average. Crops are reacting with higher than usual canopy development, but this development is not accompanied by an equally intensive development of storage organs. The weather forecast for the next ten days predicts a rainy period again and there is a possibility that crop development will be even more delayed particularly in Finland and Estonia. Winter rapeseed in Lithuania and Latvia is approaching maturity and the high rainfall amounts during the last ripening stages, as well as in the harvest can create certain yield losses. Cereals are in grain filling stage, crucial for yield formation, and we will carefully look on the effect of increased rainfall on possible creation of over moist conditions as well as other factors (solar radiation, temperature accumulation, etc.) that can have adverse effects on the yield.

Our crop yield forecast for almost all crops is similar with these from the last bulletin.

Lietuva (LT)

Benelux Countries - Again Very Wet But Good Weather Could Still Save the Harvest

Abundant rainfall assures adequate grain-filling for cereals which should result in slightly above-average yields if weather becomes drier in the remaining part of summer. Yield prospects for rapeseed are low, grain maize is still uncertain while potato and sugarbeet yields are forecast around the average.

Abundant rainfall, average temperatures and rather low solar radiation characterized most of the arable land in the Benelux countries from 21 June until 15 July. This translates into generally decent growing conditions for cereals, for which the yields are forecast as slightly above average. This reserved optimism is due to the necessity of drier weather in the next weeks to assure proper ripening of the grain after an overly wet grain-filling period. Higher-than-normal disease pressure is also expected due to humid conditions. For sugarbeet and potato, meteorological conditions remained very wet since emergence, resulting in average or just below average growth. For potatoes in Belgium, the (variable) delays in sowing during the spring add further uncertainty to the forecast, potentially reducing yield. Temperatures have been slightly higher than average (accompanied by more sunshine) in North and West Netherlands, resulting in better prospects for sugarbeets and potatoes in those regions. Grain maize is still uncertain, especially since sowing was also delayed in spring due to the rains. Rapeseed is almost mature. Its yield forecast is maintained below average, as a consequence of the rain that fell during its flowering period.

Greece - Favourable Weather Brings the Normal Yield Back

Starting with fickle weather conditions which recovered due to rainfall received during the last months and supporting temperatures and solar radiation realized the good yield values for durum wheat, soft wheat and the winter barley. Spring crops are also likely to witness a good yield year.

Meteorological conditions in the study period (up until 15 July) have shown that rainfall received in last months have replenished the soil moisture content bringing it back to long-term average level. Together with high global radiation values and favourable temperature regimes, crops regained their normal growth and development path ensuring yield quite in line with five-year average values. It’s worth mentioning here that due to prevailed heat wave events (precisely 5-6 days more compared to long-term average values) in Greece might hamper the maize yield, however it is early to bang on. Hence, the forecast for maize has not been lowered down. In Cyprus, barley yield is expected to be close to the five – year average values.

Kentriki Makedonia (GR)

Black Sea Area

Turkey - Average Crop Yield Expected

Crop yields benefitted from the favourable weather conditions characterised by ample rainfall and a positive temperature regime. Closer to five-year average yield values are forecast for wheat and even better for barley. Maize is forecast to be closer to an average yield.

The current analysis period which lasted until July 15 showed conducive growth and development conditions for the crop in terms of rainfall distribution over the growing period, a temperature regime which got recovered after starting with lower values and cumulated global radiation supporting a good yield. Wheat and barley having their growing season finished are expected to be in line with five-year average values or even better than that. Also for maize, an average yield is foreseen since the prevailing weather conditions appear to be sufficient.

Bati Anadolu (TR)

Ukraine - Dry and Hot Period

After a hot and dry period, recent promising rains permit keeping the yield forecasts for wheat and barley at a similar level to previously. Grain maize development hindered by high temperature.

The period from 21 June until 15 July was warmer than usual. The average air temperature was 2-4°C higher and temperature sums of this period reached 15-20% more than the long term average. Parts of the southern oblasts: Vinnytska, Odeska and Mykolayivska experienced up to eight days of a heat wave of temperature exceeding 35°C. The hot period was accompanied by dry conditions. Apart from Krym and oblasts located in the west, the whole country received only 50% of the normal precipitation. In the western oblasts intensive rains occurred in the third dekad of June followed by a period without rain until mid July. In the rest of the country rains were quite regular but with very small amounts, thus the cumulated values were far below the long term average. As a consequence, soil moisture is below the standard values throughout the country with the lowest values in the central part from Odeska in the south to Chernihivska, Sumska and Kharkivska in the north.

Wheat was in ripening or, in the southern oblasts, already reaching maturity. The shortened crop cycle had a negative impact on the storage organs showing below average weights. Similarly to wheat, the crop cycle of barley was shortened with the same consequences. Hot and dry conditions lead to a continuing difficult growing season. Only the recent rains allow preserving the crop yield forecasts on the previous level. In the maize production areas of the eastern oblasts, high temperature hindered the expansion of leaves. The development in the western part of the country was still promising, as maize accumulated 10-20% more of biomass. The overall maize yield will strongly depend on the thermal conditions in the following weeks. At the moment, the yield forecast was reduced by 5% compared to the previous one.

European Russia and Belarus

Russia - Long-Standing Drought Results in Bad Yield Outlook

Extreme hot weather ruled wide areas of the southern half of Russia in mid-June. Signs of a serious drought in South Russia are clearly visible in the remote sensing images. The harvest of winter cereals has started in the most southern regions and in the Black soil belt winter wheat is ripening, but elsewhere is in different phases of grain filling.

In the middle of June the maximum temperature rose above +35°C and what is more in Astrakhanskaya, Saratovskaya and Volgogradskaya Oblasts as well as in Kalmykiya Republic reached +40°C - +42°C for 2-3 days causing severe heat stress and intensifying the effect of the long-standing water scarcity of this region. In the last dekad of June the thermal anomaly decreased significantly, but the southern areas still remained moderately (+1°C - +3°C) warmer than usual. Concurrently in the central and northern regions the temperature fluctuated considerably, but finally resulting in slightly below average thermal conditions for this dekad. The first half of July again indicated a +2-4°C positive anomaly. Southern Russia is suffering from a severe drought since May. The precipitation pattern shows a high spatial variance since mid-June, but characteristically the cumulated rainfall is 30-80% below the LTA in the Chernozem region and in a belt between Belarus and the Ural Mountains, but areas between the Black and Caspian Sea enjoyed plentiful precipitation. The soil moisture distribution is patchy, but mostly below average.

Crop development is seasonal in northern areas, but generally anticipated by 1-2 weeks both for spring and winter crops southward. In the Volga and Southern Federal Districts the crop phenology is in very advanced stagse and the precocity reaches 3-4 weeks.

The long lasting drought and heat waves decreased biomass accumulation sharply in Rostovskaya and Volgogradskaya Oblasts as well as in Kransnodarskiy and Stavropolskiy Krays and in Kalmykiya Republic. To a lesser extent the effect of water scarcity is observable in Central Black Earth Region, particularly in Belgorodskaya, Voronezhskaya, Lipetskay and furthermore also far in Saratovskaya and Orenburgskaya Oblasts. The water scarcity touched badly spring barley, as well as maize and sunflower, requiring more rain. In the northern and western regions the crop growth and development is on average or above with positive yield expectations.

Belarus - Average Yield Expectations

After seasonal thermal conditions, July brought unusually warm weather. Precipitation remained slightly below the average as the first days of July were rather dry. The soil moisture content decreased below average, but does not yet restrain crop growth. Crop development denotes moderate precocity.

In the ten days of June the temperature varied around the average, but in the last days of June a sudden warming started and the daily mean temperatures jumped from 15°C to 25°C during three days. In the first ten days of July the thermal conditions became extraordinarily, because the weather was +5-+7°C warmer than usual. The daily maximum temperatures mostly exceeded +28°C and in vicinity of the Ukrainian border even +34°C - 35°C was measured. In Brest and Mogilev regions eight to ten more hot days (Tmax >30°C) occurred than usual.

First half of June was very rainy generating over-saturated soil conditions. The weather turned less rainy in the last ten days of June. The precipitation sum reached 50-80 mm from 21 June until 15 July, but remained below the average. The soil moisture content decreased slightly below the average due to the high temperatures and increased evaporative demand, but still fulfilled the water demand of the crops.

The development of winter wheat and spring barley is anticipated by nearly seven days in the northern and 10-11 days in the southern areas. The phenology of maize indicates nearly a week advance, too. The last results of crop model simulations indicate near normal water limited biomass accumulation and leaf area index values for all crops, but taking into consideration the accelerated crop development the difference is slightly negative. The yield forecast was slightly revised up to the trend level. The analysis of remote sensing images confirms the near average yield expectations.

Maghreb Countries

Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia - Subtle Effect of Drought Stress on Crop Yield

The yield forecast for soft and durum wheat in Morocco is significantly low compared to last five-year average values. Barley also shows the same response. In Tunisia and Algeria, on the other hand, wheat and barley yields are most likely expected to be either close to or better than the five-year average values.

The time window analysed in the current bulletin i.e., until 15 July shows improved curve of above ground biomass development after a delayed start as a consequence of severe drought stress in the earlier growth stages of the crop. Closer look of NDVI values along with rainfall events clearly demonstrates the recovery path of the crop being hit by the drought stress. Under purview of prevailed weather conditions yield below the five-year average values is set as forecast for both the crops namely wheat and barley. In contrast, Algeria and Tunisia expects a good yield especially Tunisia with yields above five-year average values. Lastly, the crop season ended with a note of recovery in terms of final yield which earlier commenced with alarming situation of water stress.

Centre (Morocco)

Rice Monitoring in Europe

A Potentially Good Yield is Anticipated for the Main EU-27 Rice Producers

Rice production at EU-27 level is forecast lower than last year’s values by -4.2% due to a decrease in area compared to last year in all rice producing countries. The forecast yield in relative terms hits above the last five-year average values with the exception of Bulgaria and Hungary which show a reduction in yield of about -0.2% and -2.9% respectively. The major gain is foreseen in Romania (+6.6%), France (+3.7%) and Greece (+3.5%).

Rice - Yield Forecast 2012
Actual Yield Versus Average Yield 2007 - 2011
Yield Figures 2012 are Expressed in t/ha and Rounded to 100 kg

At EU-27 yields are comparable with respect to the five-year average values (+2.2%) and to the last year’s (+3.1%) in relative terms. A good potential is expected for the main rice producing areas of Romania, Greece, France, Italy (Lombardia) and Spain (Andalucia and Extremadura). Portugal also cherishes an increased yield by 1% comparing to five-year average values. A decrease in yield values is expected in Bulgaria and Hungary in the magnitude of -0.2% and -2.9% respectively compared to five-year average values.

Italy: Low Risk of Biotic and Abiotic Damages on Crop Development

Cold and wet conditions characterized the beginning of the season in Piemonte e Lombardia. Cumulated rainfall values in April, more than 50% higher than normal, have hampered field activities and have delayed sowing preparation works. However the high temperature recorded in May allowed the recovery of a slight delay; in Piemonte the temperature stayed close the average during the first part of July allowing a good leaf area development and the relatively reduced number of high infection risk should guarantee good biomass accumulation rate. Due to sufficient rain recorded in previous months, in Piemonte and Lombardia, the risk of water shortage should be avoided.

Spain: Good Yield Expected Despite Dry Conditions

Overall weather indicators in Spain characterised by cummulated active temperature, average global radiation hits above the long-term average values except the precipitation which is quite low compared to long-term average values covering the areas of Cataluna, Valenciana, Andalucia and Extremadura. Simulated values of leaf area index depict an optimal canopy development and the relatively reduced incidence of high infection risk (in days) could warrant a good rate of biomass accumulation. Higher NDVI values also cross confirms and supports a good year in terms of yield. Hence the forecast value for the current season is set above the five-year average values.

France: Normal Growth Regained after a Delayed Start

Having started with low temperature and few rainfall events, the rice producing areas in France finally register ample amount of rainfall coupled with global solar radiation both having values above long-term average values during last month ensuring positive canopy expansion and biomass development consequently good yield. The crop’s growth and development recovery is well depicted in good NDVI values as well. Although the model simulates the six days of fungal infection risk which is very low and can be considered as non-significant. The forecast is set at above long-term average values.

Greece: Above Average Yield Foreseen

Favourable temperature regime and abundant rainfall during the start of the crop season sets promising scenario for the crop optimal growth and development. The simulated values of potential leaf area index show a positive canopy expansion and total biomass values are also on positive line compared to long-term average and last year values. However, most likely incidences of blast might trickle down the potential yield if humid conditions persist.

Portugal: Good Start of the Season

The model simulates average conditions in Portugal for developing stage and higher values than average for leaf area index depicting a good start of the season. The high humidity and temperature recorded during the first decade of May could have been increased blast infection risk, but according to our model this had not affected accumulated biomass that shows values above the average.

Bulgaria: High Temperature and Radiation Boosted Biomass

The high value of global radiation and cumulated temperatures which characterized the end of May and the beginning of June boosted rapidly rice development to an advance of more than 10 days. The simulated values of potential leaf area index show a positive canopy expansion and cumulated biomass is well above the average.

Romania: Favourable Growth Conditions for the Crop

Although cold temperature prevailed in April especially in the south-east region of Romania which got improved in further months, crop seem to be unaffected progressing towards the optimal growth which is predicted in the good values of leaf area index (positive canopy expansion) and biomass accumulation simulated by the model. There could be slight reduction in yield in the north-western part of the country most likely due to the effect of infection risks which impairs the photosynthetic capacity.

Hungary: Good Conditions and Low Impact of Blast Infection

The model simulates average conditions in Hungary for development stage and higher value than average for leaf area index depicting a good start of the season. The rainfall recorded in June has increase the blast infection risk, but according to our model this had not affected accumulated biomass that shows values slightly above the average.

Remote Sensing Analysis

The first of the cluster maps below displays the fAPAR time series from 1st of April 2012 to the 10th of July 2012. The represented regions are the most relevant in Europe. In Piemonte and Lombardia (Italy) the biomass development is on seasonal values. Western rice fields, slightly advanced compared to the eastern ones, are close to the seasonal maximum as displayed by the profile of cluster 3. In France the rice growth is still far away from the flowering stage as deductible by the low fAPAR values of cluster 1. The Spanish regions have slightly favorable canopy evolution (see green profile). Probably the sufficient water reserve and the good temperature allowed for an optimal growth, at least in the main rice districts. In purple are marked marginal regions where probably the sown did not happened.

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: 1st April – 10th July. In Italy the main regions suffered form a delayed starting of the biomass development recovered only in the latest weeks: fAPAR values now are ranging above the average (see blue and yellow profiles) Same trend counts for France and some regions in Spain (see light blue profile). In the core rice field in Andalucia biomass development is anticipated and definitely above the average (green regions).

Pastures in Europe - Update Remote Sensing Monitoring

Favourable conditions in Central and Northern Europe, water constraints in Mediterranean basin. Lack of precipitation in Iberian Peninsula and Italy is limiting the pasture production whereas the outlook is quite positive in Central and Northern Europe, as well as in Black Sea countries.

The dry spell is still persistent in Spain and Portugal, with no significant rainfall registered between the end of June and 10 July. Therefore, seasonal cumulated biomass production is significantly below the average for the year in most of the regions, with the exception of the Cantabrian basin.

In Italy, the scarcity of precipitation and the rise of temperatures between the second half of June and beginning of July is becoming a limiting factor for pasture and fodder maize development in the Northern regions, especially in Emilia-Romagna and Veneto. In the southern regions the perspectives are still favourable.

Abundant rainfall was received during the current summer season in France and, especially in UK and Ireland. The production levels up to date are higher than the seasonal levels with a favourable outlook. The regions of Champagne-Ardenne and Lorraine in France, strongly affected by the winter cold wave have recovered seasonal biomass production with positive perspectives in the forthcoming months. In the Benelux countries production levels slightly above the average are expected as well.

In Germany, the northern regions exhibit a biomass accumulation below the average, partly due to a delay in the pasture development caused by the rather cold winter. By contrast, in Bayern (Germany), Austria and Czech Republic pasture biomass is high, compared to average. Mild temperatures combined with sufficient rainfall depict a quite favourable scenario for the summer. In Slovakia, however, dry and hot conditions are limiting biomass production, with perspectives below the average.

In Romania, excellent meteorological conditions for pasture development are boosting up biomass accumulation, after a particularly difficult start of the season. The overall biomass accumulation from the beginning of the season is on average, with a quite favourable outlook for the remaining summer.

In Poland a light biomass deficit in the southern regions is more than compensated by the positive expectations in the main pasture areas of the North.

The positive evolution of pasture development continues in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, in one of the best seasons in the last 15 years thanks to abundant precipitations in last two months and warm temperatures. Production levels above the seasonal level as well in Sweden, while an average season is expected for Denmark and Finland.


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