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Europe Mars Bulletins

29 June 2012

EU Mars Bulletin Vol. 20 No 6EU Mars Bulletin Vol. 20 No 6

Agro-meteorological overview and weather forecast - 25 June 2012, Iberian Peninsula faces a difficult season.
Supplied by: MARS BULLETIN – EC - JRC

Iberian Peninsula Faces a Difficult Season

Areas of Concern

Average temperature accumulation in Europe north of 50 deg latitude with warm days end of May followed by a fresh June. Persistently high temperatures and above-average temperature accumulation in June for all countries bordering the Black Sea as well as Spain and Italy. Well above-average precipitation in the British Isles, most of France, Austria, Romania and Bulgaria, dry conditions in Spain, Maghreb, eastern Italy, northern Germany and southern Ukraine.

Compared to our last Bulletin the forecast for total cereals increased mainly due to an increase of the maize yield due to favourable growing conditions in the main producing countries, but at the same time some concern is raised for Bulgaria and Romania with heat waves forecast. Despite the increase of soft wheat yield for France and Germany a small decrease compared to the last Bulletin is forecast at EU 27 level, because forecasts have been considerably lowered for Spain by more than 10%.

Also durum wheat yield is lowered at EU 27 level mainly caused by a further decrease of yields in Spain by 20 % from the last Bulletin. Total barley shows a reduction at EU 27 level as a result of a decrease of spring barley forecasts mainly in Spain that is only partially compensated by the yields revised up for Germany and France. EU 27 rye forecast increased as the forecast for Poland was revised up.

Agro-meteorological Overview

Mostly average temperature accumulation in Europe north of above 50 deg latitude north with last warm days end of May followed by a fresh June. Persistently high temperatures and above-average temperature accumulation is recorded in June for all countries bordering the Black Sea as well as Spain and Italy. Well above- average precipitation in the British Isles, most of France, Austria, Romania and Bulgaria, dry conditions in Spain, Maghreb, eastern Italy, northern Germany and southern Ukraine.

May as a whole brought a surplus of temperature accumulation in the Iberian Peninsula, France (with the exception of Bretagne), Benelux, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, north-southern parts of Romania and most pronounced in Ukraine and southern Russia where it was coupled with a unusual high number of hot days negatively affecting crop growth conditions. The same is true for the Iberian Peninsula and Maghreb. Most of the temperature accumulation took place in the first half of May for southern Europe and Black Sea Area, whereas the second half of May brought a significant cooling to most of Europe with the exception of the previously fresher regions around the North Sea now showing a surplus of accumulation. Even night frosts are recorded in Austria, France, Germany, Czech Republic and Poland between 15 May and 18 May foremost damaging vegetables and wine but possibly also negatively impacting on cereals in the regions affected.

Beginning of June, maximum and minimum temperatures dropped significantly in northern and central Europe slowing down crop growth. High temperatures did only persist in Spain, Ukraine, Greece, Romania and Bulgaria with 3 -5 consecutive days above 30 degrees. Temperatures climbed again in the second dekad of June for central and eastern Europe; Italy and the Balkans as well as the Black Sea area resulting in above average temperature accumulation and a number of consecutive hot days in those regions. North Portugal, northern France as well as the British Isles and northern Europe experienced below average accumulation of temperatures. The dekadal maps of temperature and hot days concerning the period of analysis from 21 May until 20 June can be found under the section atlas maps.

Precipitation in the period considered was plentiful in British Isles with the exception of a dryer East Anglia. France shows average values but a clear surplus in the Centre, being beneficial for the crops. High amounts of rain have been recorded for Bulgaria and Romania continuing the above average rainfall accumulation since April and coupled with high daily rainfall rates. In the south of Romania they did coincide with the grain filling phases of wheat and barley. Concerns raised in the previous Bulletin due to dry conditions in Austria have been mitigated by recent rain now showing a balanced rainfall accumulation since April. This cannot be stated for the north of Germany; dry conditions continue and also in the considered period a rainfall deficit of around 80% - 100 % is recorded for Mecklenburg Vorpommern. The period was also dry for the main producing regions of Spain: Castilla Y Leon and Castilla La Mancha as well as Emilia Romagna and Marche in Italy. Dry conditions persisted in Mykolayivska (Ukraine) and southern Russia. As a conclusion from the recent weather course the area of concern map has changed and new areas of concerns emerged (see first page) like the north of Germany due to a persistent rainfall deficit and alarming low soil moisture contents as well as Southern Russia with worrying drought conditions.

The dekadal maps of precipitation from 21 May until 20 June can be found in the section atlas maps.

Weather Forecast for the Coming Days: 21 June to 30 June

Warm weather with scarce rainfall will continue in the Black Sea basin, whereas northern areas will remain colder and with high amounts of rain.

Forecast Temperatures

In the next few days temperatures will be distributed with a north (colder) and south (warmer) gradient. Cold Atlantic air will influence the temperature over the British Isles, Scandinavian Peninsula and Estonia in the beginning, and then move southwards to all Baltic States, central Russia, eastern Belarus, north to west Poland and north Germany. The accumulation of active temperatures (Tbase = 0°C) will be lower than usual and maximum temperatures will not exceed 22/24°C in the northern altitudes.

On the contrary the southern part of Europe, regions around the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea temperatures will remain high. In Spain, Italy and the area between Adriatic and Black Sea, western Turkey and Maghreb the accumulation of active temperatures will exceed the long term average by +30/+40 GDD, in southern Ukraine and Moldova even by +50 GDD (>+20%). Italy, with exception of northern areas, most of Ukraine and Hungary towards Greece will experience greater than usual number of days with maximum temperature above 30°C. In southern Russia and Ukraine, and eastern Hungary 1-3 days with maximum temperature above 35°C will be recorded. Locally in southern Spain, Portugal and Morocco temperatures above 40°C are forecast. All these areas will experience heat waves lasting at least five days and locally in Italy and Turkey even 10 days. The warm weather in the south-east of the continent could have negative impact on spring barley being between flowering and grain filling.

Forecast Precipitation

Abundant precipitation is forecast around the North Sea, mainly in United Kingdom, Ireland, southern Sweden and centre of Finland too. The cumulated rainfall will exceed 60/80 mm and locally a temporary excess of water is possible in these regions. The north of France, Denmark, north-eastern Poland, Belarus and some central areas in Russia will also receive higher than usual (by 20/30mm) amounts of rain. In the above mentioned areas as well in Benelux and across central Germany total amounts of rain will exceed the long term average by >40%. Rain will be distributed within 4-5 days with the highest daily amounts at 10 mm in wide areas. Intense and abundant precipitation would create obstacles for winter rapeseed ripening.

The warm weather conditions in south-eastern Europe, mainly western Romania and Italy will be accompanied with scarce precipitation or absence of rain. Very scarce rain is forecast in Ukraine, where the climatic water deficit will continue to decrease. t is forecast for the analysed period at -40/-50 mm as compared to the long term average. These weather conditions will not be favourable for crops growth and will cause further shortening of the development cycle.

Remote Sensing – Observed Canopy Conditions

Dry conditions in southern Ukraine affect crop development. Average growth rate for spring and summer crops across Europe.

The map displays the global biomass accumulation until the end of the growing season and, therefore, evaluates whether the on-going season is close to normal values or to an extreme event. The cumulated fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (fAPAR) values for the end of the season were computed using the observed fAPAR values from March 1 2012 to June 10, and adding historical average fAPAR values from June 11 to September 30. The fAPAR cumulated values obtained were compared with the three historical series (minimum, maximum and average). In southern Spain and Portugal the senescence of winter crops is almost complete. In the northern regions conditions are around the average with green biomass that reached the seasonal peak and senescence already stared in many regions (e.g. fAPAR graph for Catalunia). In Italy main arable lands in the Po plain have a slightly positive biomass accumulation compared to the average (e.g. Emilia Romagna fAPAR profile). Summer and spring crops in central regions of Italy boosted in the recent weeks. In the southern regions of France the summer crops development is in line with the average. The fAPAR values for the northern regions are about the seasonal maximum values indicating that flowering stages are reached almost everywhere, as visible in the fAPAR graph for Centre region. The slowdown of the growth rate of May is fully recovered and overall biomass accumulation could be foreseen above the average. In United Kingdom the crop development trend is similar to the one described for North France. Here the low radiation income and the high precipitation amount of the latter weeks have not hampered the canopy condition as the graph for the East Anglia region shows. In Germany the biomass evolution is in line with the one of the last month with suboptimal development in western regions and average accumulation is observed in the southern cropland. On the contrary dry conditions in the eastern arable land could lead to damage even if canopy has not yet reacted to the water scarcity, as shown in the Mecklenburg fAPAR profile. A favourable development of the spring crops canopy is present across Central and Eastern Europe recovering from delayed stages in many regions. In the agricultural plains at the border between Bulgaria and Romania the abundant rainfall of the latest weeks, coupled with good average temperatures, determined a boost of the vegetation as shown by the fAPAR graphs of Sud Muntenia region (RO): the fAPAR values now range fairly above the average. In Ukraine the crop conditions are critical in the southern regions (e.g. Mykolayivs'ka fAPAR profile) due to the water scarcity while they are close to the average for the remaining part of the country. The same trend counts for Russia cropland with southern areas suffering because of the lack of water (e.g. Volgogradskaya profile). In central Turkey biomass accumulation is moving towards average values.

Country Analysis

European Union

Compared to our last Bulletin the forecast for total cereals increased mainly due to an increase of the maize yield as favourable growing conditions in the main producing countries are observed, but at the same time some concern is raised for Bulgaria and Romania with heat waves forecast. Despite the increase of soft wheat yield for France and Germany a small decrease compared to the last Bulletin is forecast at EU 27 level as forecasts have been considerably lowered for Spain with more than 10%. Also durum wheat yield is lowered at EU 27 level mainly caused by a further decrease of yield in Spain by 20 % from the last Bulletin. Total barley shows a reduction at EU 27 level caused by a decrease of spring barley forecasts mainly in Spain and only partially compensated by an overall higher yield for winter barley compared to the last Bulletin as yields have been revised up for Germany and France. EU 27 rye forecast is increased as the forecast for Poland was revised up.


Promising Outlook for Winter Crops

Abundant rainfall and temperature increase during May and June depict a promising scenario for winter and spring cereals.

Meteorological conditions in the study period (May 15th to June 15th) have been beneficial for crops. In practically all the territory, cumulated rainfall exceeded slightly the seasonal values, with Rhone-Alps, Centre, Auvergne and Limousin being the regions with the highest precipitation rates received. Moreover, average daily temperatures were higher by 1 - 2 °C than average, describing a rather favourable scenario for winter and spring cereals, currently at the grain filling stage.

Consequently, the outlook for soft wheat is quite positive. The agronomic indicators from crop models show an accumulation of biomass in the storage organs significantly higher than average in the main producer regions. An adequate water supply during grain formation is guaranteed by the rainfall occurred.

The scenario is promising as well for spring barley which this year is grown on a record-large area, given that it has been used in North East regions as replacement to winter varieties after the frost kill in February.

However, the final yield of cereals can still be considerably influenced by meteorological conditions around maturity and harvest (such as heavy rainfall events or extreme temperatures). Therefore the weather between the end of June and July will be critical to confirm the positive evolution observed up to date.

Sunflower and maize are currently in the vegetative development phase, with leaf area production close to seasonal values for both crops. Thanks to the latest rain, no water constraints are foreseen in the following weeks, and therefore flowering should start at favourable conditions.

Rainfall: Central France


Average Growth Conditions but still Low Soil Moisture in North and East

Winter crops entered water demanding stages that can be satisfied in most regions due to the rain received with the exception north and east Germany. The drought is most accentuated in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Forecasts are generally slightly revised up but winter cereals remain below the 5 years average with the exception of rye.

After temperature accumulation slowed down mid May warmer weather returned for the last dekad of May in Germany leading to a surplus of temperature accumulation and favourable growth conditions. Temperatures even climbed above 30 degrees in Eastern Germany for 1 – 2 days bringing summer conditions. Some precipitation was recorded but the previously dry regions Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Schleswig Holstein did not receive any. With the beginning of June average temperatures dropped significantly with the north (colder) south (warmer) gradient. Temperature accumulation stayed below the long term average (around – 20% in northern and central Germany) slowing down crop growth with maximum temperatures being on average 4 – 6 degrees colder than the LTA. Also rainfall started to cross the country with a clear surplus in the first dekad of June for Nordrhein-Westfalen, Rheinland Pfalz and Saarland as well as southern regions in Hessen, Baden-Wuerttemberg and Bayern with absolute values as high as 70 mm in 10 days in the region of Tübingen. This period did coincide with the flowering of winter wheat and was also coupled with low sunshine duration possibly reducing ear fertility. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and northern Brandenburg remained dry again. Here the period since 1st of March until 10 of June is the driest in our databases. The weather after 10 of June remained variable and temperatures climbed considerably in the south of country (above 30degrees). Rainy days are recorded throughout the whole country, except, again for Mecklenburg Vorpommern.

Winter wheat passed the flowering stage and is now at grain filling whereas in the most northern parts of the country the model simulates flowering. Growth conditions have been satisfactory in the south and hampered by a strong water deficit in the north-east of the country. This is only partially reflected with a below average simulated biomass accumulation. The forecast for winter wheat has been slightly increased.

Rape seed is mostly at ripening stage being slightly advanced throughout the country. High amounts of rainfall during flowering were recorded in Rheinland Pfalz. In general high values of water limited storage organs are simulated with the exception of Unterfranken, Mittelfranken and Hessen where values are closer to the average level of simulation. Yield forecast is revised up and the forecast is now based on the simulated storage organ weight.

Grain maize is at the vegetative state, the low temperatures slowed down the growth and only little biomass accumulation can be observed so far, not deviating from the long term average. So far the full yield potential is kept.

Rainfall: Rheinland-Pfalz (DE)


Favourable Weather for Spring Crops

Soil moisture has recovered in the west but more rain is needed in some areas. Positive outlook for winter crops in eastern areas and for spring crops across the whole country.

The analysed period (May 20 - June 15) started with high temperatures followed by a cold spell between May 30 and June 6. The end of the observed period was in the seasonal thermal range. In western areas 1-2 days with maximum temperature above 30°C were recorded. The accumulation of active temperatures (Tbase = 0°C) was seasonal; crop development slightly slowed down towards the end of the period.

After scarce rainfall, mainly in the north-west and the west in May, June started with beneficial and well distributed rainfalls. Within two weeks a slight surplus of cumulated rainfall as compared to the long term average was recorded in most of the country. The exception was north-western Poland, mainly Zachodniopomorskie, here the rainfall deficit reached 40%.

Winter wheat started grain filling in the south and is flowering in the north few days in advance compared to LTA. Winter rapeseed in the south-west is ripening whereas in the other regions it is finishing grain filling and starting ripening. Water limited storage organs accumulation is above LTA and the last two years. Spring barley is flowering all over the country. Soil moisture has recovered in western areas, which received more rain beneficial for crop yield formation. Rye is filling grains in most of the country and started ripening in some places in the west and south everywhere in slight advance. The weather conditions were favourable for storage organ accumulation. Grain maize and sugar beet are in vegetative development.

Model outputs would allow to forecast good yield outlook for all crops but yield forecasts for soft wheat and rapeseed have not been increased due to the negative impact of abnormal winter weather conditions for winter crops (except rye). More than 30% of the acreage was re-sown into spring varieties and other crops.(in Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Lodzkie, Wielkopolskie and Lubuskie the percentage even doubled)

Remote sensing indicators (fAPAR) reached LTA values in the first ten-day period of June due to good development of spring crops. Previous values were lower than average because of rather poor growth of winter crops in the regions mentioned above.

Rainfall: Zachodniopomorskie (PL)

United Kingdom and Ireland

Winter Cereal Crops in UK do well Despite Unusual Year while in Ireland they Lack Sunshine

Cereals in major regions of the UK keep a higher-than-normal green biomass despite the tough weather conditions they have been subject to. However, disease pressure is expected to be high, given the continued rainfall, with an additional uncertainty on how it will managed. In Ireland, low sunshine throughout the season may be limiting the potential of winter crops.

Overall, the period from May 20th till June 15th has been characterized by a set of 10 hot and relatively dry days, followed by a much wetter period of 10 days. In Ireland, a considerable amount of rainfall has contributed to bring back the cumulated rainfall since the beginning of the year close to the long term average. Cumulated global radiation, however, remains considerably below average, which may be the reason why simulated potential leaf area index (LAI) for winter cereals is below average. In the UK, cumulated rainfall, temperatures and radiation are all above average. The crop growth model simulations indicate winter crops remaining slightly in advance with respect to normal conditions and with the peak of potential LAI reaching higher values than normal in most of England (with the exception of the South- West). End of May provided an opportunity to have cloud-free remote sensing observations that confirmed an above-average green biomass peak. The lush vegetation, in combination with considerable precipitation and a preceding warm winter, indicates a strong disease pressure on the winter crops. Since there are many days with considerable rainfall, spraying against diseases is bound to be uneven from farm to farm, which may result in a high variability of yields. Nevertheless, the yield outlook remains positive. Winter rapeseed appears to have had an extended flowering period that will cause a spread in maturity dates, complicating harvest. Flowering was dominated by rain, hampering pollination and further increasing yield uncertainty despite favourable biomass accumulation. Potatoes and sugarbeet, being within the normal range of growth and development according to crop simulations, would benefit from more sunshine in this early phase.

Rainfall: Lincolnshire (UK)

Spain and Portugal

Negative Outlook due to Lack of Rain

Dry conditions on the Iberian Peninsula persist during the first half of June, with no rainfall in most of the regions. This will have negative effects on winter and spring crop yields.

The lack of rainfall has been a constant in most of the regions from the second half of May to mid June. Winter cereals, currently between grain filling (Castilla y Leon) and maturity (Andalucía), suffered from these water constraints resulting in a reduction of their potential yield. Durum wheat is currently harvested in Andalucía and the expected yields, according to remote sensing and crop indicators, will be close to year 2005, one of the lowest in the last decade. Similar conditions have been observed in Alentejo, the most important producer of winter cereals in Portugal, with low yields forecast for winter barley, soft wheat and triticale.

Soft wheat yield in Spain is forecast to decrease as well, compared to the average of the last five years. The analysis of agronomic indicators suggests, up to now, that the decrease will not be as dramatic as in the case of durum wheat. However, the crop is presently in the critical stage of grain filling, and meteorological conditions in the following weeks will determine the final yield. Expectations for spring barley – currently at flowering phase – point to yields close to results of 2010 and 2011 seasons, being so far less affected by dry conditions than wheat.

Sunflower is currently reaching the flowering stage, and the shortage in rainfall – especially in the South – could affect the yield potential during the grain filling period starting in the forthcoming weeks. Summer crops, however, continue their development and no irrigation restrictions are foreseen for the next month.

Rainfall: Castilla Y Leon (ES)

Italy and Slovenia

Good Yield Forecast for Winter Crops

Yields are revised upwards for winter crops. The conditions for summer crops are also positive due to the water stored and temperatures close to the seasonal values.

During the observation period, from 20 May until June 15th, the accumulation of active temperatures was recorded above the average. Maximum daily temperatures did not exceed 30 °C in most parts of northern Italy and Slovenia; temperatures close to 30 °C were recorded in southern Italy, only for a few days. The rainfall accumulated during the observation period has been substantially lower (-80 %) than the long-term average in the East part of Italy (Marche, Abruzzo, Puglia) and below the LTA in Sicily and in Emilia Romagna (- 30%); but thanks to the previous good water supply, winter crop yield will not be reduced, except in some area of Puglia where significant water stress is observed. However, in central and eastern Italy, some rain is needed to maintain the high yield potential for spring and summer crops too. In northern Italy, Toscana and Slovenia a good water supply allowed a good condition of winter crop grain filling and development of spring crops. Soft wheat and barley are at the end of the grain filling period, in northern and central regions, and the crop growth model shows storage organ content above the average. In southern regions, durum wheat harvest has already started and according to our models the satisfactory yield expectation foreseen has been confirmed and even good quality can be expected. The forecast is slightly increased, for winter cereals, as the model now uses storage organ content as a predictor. Rapeseed has reached maturity and is being harvested. The stormy weather at flowering could affect good yield expectations, mainly in Piemonte. Grain maize development has been around the average or with a slight delay in north-east Italy. Yield forecasts are close to the average of the last years, but weather conditions during the next month will be determinant. Sugar beet is now in the yield formation growth stage in almost all regions of production, heralding a good start to biomass accumulation and root enlargement in northern regions, but high temperatures and the lack of precipitation forecasted, for next days, could induce the risk of water stress especially in Marche, Emilia Romagna and Veneto.

Rainfall: Puglia (IT)


Moderate Yield Outlook for Winter Crops

Near-normal thermal conditions and above-average irradiation characterised the considered period. Rain in May was crucial for the partial recovery of winter cereals, keeping alive moderate yield expectations. Further rainfall and moderate temperatures are needed to keep the yield potential at current level during the grain filling period of cereals. The main spring crops development is at seasonal average with promising leaf area and biomass accumulation.

The period since 20 May has been characterized by highly fluctuating temperatures resulting in average temperature accumulation. The phenological status of spring crops is seasonal, while winter crops, especially rapeseed, indicate an advanced development of 1-2 weeks, which was accumulated earlier in the season and maintained during the period of analysis. Following the trend already discussed for the previous month the cumulated rainfall followed the seasonal course and showed moderate surplus above average in eastern and southern areas and deficiency in northern and western territories, foremost in Nyugat-Dunántúl and Észak- Magyarország regions, where the water deficiency increased. Precipitation arrived in form of heavy showers resulting in high precipitation intensities and locally accompanying storms and damaging hail.

The spatial variability in development and biomass accumulation is significant and much larger than usual. Soil moisture under wheat, barley and rapeseed is normal along the southern border in Dél-Dunántúl and Dél-Alföld regions, but model simulations indicate significant (20-30% below average) moisture deficits in northern parts of Hungary. Water limited biomass accumulation and leaf area index of winter wheat are lower than usual, leading to moderate yield levels forecast. Rapeseed was struck not only by a dry autumn and bad wintering, but also spring-time was unfavourable. Consequently, low yields are forecast and a low production is expected. A good yield potential is simulated for the first part of the sunflower and maize cycle.


Torrential Rains

The agricultural areas in Romania received abundant precipitation from mid-May onwards. Cumulated rainfall exceeded by 50-300% the long-term average. In June, hot days (Tmax>30°C) occurred more often than normal in South Romania, causing problems in the grain filling of winter wheat and barley. The moist and warm weather generated favourable conditions for different plant diseases. A decrease of grain quantity and quality is expected for winter wheat and barley.

Cumulated precipitation was generally higher than 80 mm during the period of analysis with typical values of 100-150 mm, even exceeding 200 mm in some places. Exceptions were some limited areas with below-average rainfall along the south-western and north-eastern border of Romania. The abundant precipitation saturated the soil and provided good conditions for growth of maize and sunflower, though the water excess caused damages locally and led to crop decay and destruction. Additionally, the wet soils hampered the access to fields and delayed spraying and weed treatment. The lack of adequate pest control increased the rate of fungal infections which could cause further problems.

Thermal conditions were below average in the last dekad of May, but improved considerably in June. Daily maximum temperatures frequently exceeded 30°C in the southern regions like Sud-Est, Sud-Muntenia and Marcoregiunea Patru regions, resulting in 3-10 hot days in the first half of June that induced unfavourable conditions for the cereals being in the grain-filling phenological stage.

Spring crops, primarily maize and sunflower, have welldeveloped dense canopies, indicating above-average biomass accumulation and a high yield potential. The crop development of sunflower, potato, spring barley, and winter wheat has been significantly anticipated, while maize is at seasonal average. The current yield forecast has a lower reliability than usual at this time of the year, because, due to the uncommon precipitation distribution and patterns, hardly any similar year could be found during the statistical scenario analysis.

Cumulated Rainfall Period: 11/05 - 10/06: Romania


Wet Soils Provides good Conditions for Crop Growth

The considered period was very variable with cold and hot periods alternating. Due to the abundant May rainfall soil moisture content replenished providing favourable water supply conditions for spring crops. The rape-seed production outlook is projected to be modest due to the bad wintering. The expected winter wheat yield probably will be moderately good, but somewhat below the result of previous year.

Significant drops in temperatures were recorded in mid- May in Bulgaria. Colder than usual thermal conditions were experienced everywhere in the country. In some cases, the daily mean temperatures remained approximately two standard deviations below the long term average. Plentiful precipitation did fall in the last two dekades of May. The precipitation patterns were patchy, but the cumulated rainfall mostly exceeded the average by 50-100 mm. The soils became saturated with the exception of some small spot in North-Bulgaria. In the last days of May considerable warming started and June brought real summer weather conditions. Between 11 June and 16 maximum temperatures rose to extreme levels reaching +33- +36°C. The precipitation tendency decreased and just 1-3 days with significant rainfall were recorded until mid-June. During this dryer spell the precipitation sum fell below the 50% of regular climatological values.

The crop phenological development is generally seasonal and just slightly anticipated in Severoiztochen and Yugoiztochen regions. The modelled water limited biomass accumulation of sunflower and potato exceeds by more than 30% the usual level and also the simulated maize seems to be quite fair in South and East-Bulgaria. The current yield forecast of spring crops is very promising provided further favourable weather continues to keep the yield potential on this exceptional level. No real analogous year exists in our data-base with such an extraordinary crop growth and development situation.

Austria, Czech Republic and Slovakia

Conditions until End of May followed by Significant Rainfall

Persistent drought until the end of May created stressful conditions for winter crops at heading. Significant rainfall beginning in June alleviated water stress, but may have created environmental conditions conducive to fungi infections in winter cereals at the beginning of flowering. Winter crop forecasts are revised downwards, but stay generally around average. No changes for spring crops.

The last ten days of May were characterized by higher than normal temperatures: maxima were around twice the standard deviation values and the minima were even above this threshold. The following period was characterized by temperatures around the long-term average (LTA). As a consequence, cumulated active temperatures were slightly higher than LTA. The persistent drought conditions of the last months were brought to an end in late May when rain arrived. This rainfall partially replenished soil moisture and alleviated the stressful conditions for the winter crops during the delicate stage of flowering. At the same time, rainfall may have created environmental conditions in favour of fungi infections in winter cereals. This could be especially true for Czech Republic and Austria, with the exception of the Burgenland region. This region and Slovakia received little rainfall only that did not end water stress to crops, which could result in serious reductions in winter crop yields.

Crop yield forecasts have generally been revised slightly downwards due to the contemporary presence of high temperatures and drought conditions in the second half of May. Nevertheless, the rainfall received in the following period should have arrived in time to stabilize the yields around average. The drought conditions of the past months should not have affected spring crops, and no changes were made to their forecasted yields.

Rainfall: Niederosterreich (AT)

Denmark and Sweden

Good Potential Simulated for Winter Crops

Yields are revised upwards for rapeseed. Good conditions for spring crops offer potentially positive yield prospects, but drier conditions are needed for good grain filling and ripening.

During the first 15 days of June wet conditions and temperatures below the long-term average (LTA) were recorded. In this period rainfall was more than 80 % above LTA in Denmark, and more than 100% above LTA in most of Sweden, mainly in Östra Mellansverige. During the entire observation period from May 20th until June 15th, however, cumulated active temperatures (Tbase = 0oC) have been higher than the average in Denmark and Sweden, and winter crop development stages are slightly advanced in Denmark and in Södra Sverige. Winter crop growing conditions have remained favourable, thus assuring above-average biomass accumulation. Wheat and barley are beginning the grain filling period and drier conditions are needed to maintain positive forecasts. According to our model, rapeseed shows above-average storage organ accumulation, and also the delicate period of flowering arrived before the rain, mainly in Syddanmark. Therefore the yield forecast for rapeseed is slightly revised up. Spring barley is at heading stage in Sweden and northern Denmark, while flowering is starting in Syddanmark and Sjaelland, with growth conditions around the average of the last years. The growth conditions seem to be favourable for potato and sugar beet, but it is still too early to anticipate deviations from the statistical trend.

Rainfall: Syddanmark (DK)

Finland and Baltic States

Intensive Canopy Development can Result in Good Yield Formation

Temperature accumulation close to average supplemented by rain higher than usual promotes very good canopy development and a further increase in forecasted yield.

The period from end of May until the end of the first week of June was characterised by temperatures below the long-term average (LTA), reducing accumulated temperatures (Tbase = 0oC) just at average for all countries except Lithuania with little bit higher temperature accumulation from the beginning of the season till present. This cold spell slowed down for a while intensive crop growth. The higher than usual rainfall accumulation prevails in the region, particularly in Estonia and Latvia. The total amount of rainfall from the beginning of the year in Estonia is about 50% higher than LTA value and is the highest one in our historical series that date back to 1975.

Winter crops growth is still good and there is a higher than usual canopy density and vastly increased leaf area index (LAI). The above-mentioned state is confirmed by our crop model as well as by a higher than usual fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (fAPAR) as observed via remote sensing. Proper plant protection will be important to maintain the increased leaf area in good condition.

Winter cereals development stage is about average. Flowering is starting in southern part of the region. Spring cereals development is still very early in the season with tillering in northern part and heading in the southern part of the region. The weather conditions and the very good canopy development led to an increase of the yield forecasts.

The yield forecasts for all crops are now based on the output of the crop growth model. There is expectation for a further increase of the yield forecast later in the season, if similar conditions prevail during the next weeks when yield formation will take place.

Rainfall: Latvija

Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg

Wet Conditions Prevail

Except for a small window in May, rain still dominates the weather in Benelux countries hampering the beginning of maize and potato. Winter crops may look to favourable yields if drier weather settles in for grain-filling and ripening.

The period of analysis is characterised by the predominantly wet conditions present since mid-April. Despite the high frequency of rainy days, the cumulated rainfall is close to the long term average since the current rainfall compensates the deficit that occurred in March (with the exception of Northern Netherlands where cumulated rainfall is still below average). The last week of May did provide a window with little precipitation and much warmer-than-average temperatures given a needed boost to summer crops. Yield potential for potatoes and maize are already compromised by delayed and sub-optimal sowing due to adverse weather conditions.

For now, the outlook for winter crops is favourable to above average yields. Simulations of these crops indeed show a slight advance in development with respect to normal years, along with higher green biomass. However, realizing this yield potential for cereals will require a grain-filling phase with more sun and less rain than current conditions. For winter rapeseed, which is already transitioning from grain-filling to ripening in several areas, high yields may have been compromised by suboptimal pollination due to higher-than-normal rainfall during the flowering phase.

Rainfall: Prov. Namur (BE)


Growing Conditions Back to Normal

Starting with dry weather conditions, rainfall received in last months and high cumulated global radiation is setting now favourable growth conditions. This consequently leads to good yields of durum wheat, soft wheat and winter barley. The favourable seasonal start for spring crops assures a good year.

The analysis period is characterised by ample rainfall and favourable temperature regime, bringing back the soil moisture content on the average. The crops get benefit from the high solar radiation as well. This is indicated in the crop development stage recouped to long-term average values. The same situation appears in the barley-producing areas in the north (Kentriki Makedonia). Therefore, such background suggests the crop yields to be on average level. In Cyprus, the fAPAR values are close to long-term average, coupled with a good amount of rainfall, temperature and global radiation. Yield is expected to be close to the 5-years average.

Rainfall: Kentriki Makedonia (GR)

Black Sea Area: Turkey

Normal Crop Growth Realized

Yields benefit from the return of favourable temperatures and well above-average rainfall. Given good biomass development of winter wheat and barley, yield forecasts for these crops are in line with the last forecast values. Maize yield, on the other hand, is expected to be on average.

The current analysis period until June 15 sets favourable growth and development conditions for the crop in terms of cumulated rainfall, temperature regime and cumulated global radiation. Finally cross-observed in NDVI values as well, especially in the main wheat-producing areas of the country (i.e. the central Anatolian regions), the forecast is expected to be nearing the fiveyear average values. For maize, an average yield is anticipated since the prevailing weather conditions appear sufficiently favourable.

Rainfall: Bati Anadolu (TR)


Hot and Dry in the South and East, over Wet Soils in the West

Hot and dry conditions in the southern and eastern oblasts shorten the winter crop cycle, which can reduce the yield and lower the grain quality. Maize started promisingly with high yield expectations.

In the analysed period the air temperature was higher in the whole country with two peaks in the third dekad of May and second dekad of June. The South-Eastern oblasts: Mykolayivska, Kirovohradska and Dnipropretrovska experienced a week of heat wave with temperature above 30°C, which is not typical for this period of the season. The distribution of precipitation was heterogeneous. Western oblasts received up to +30% more rain than the long term average. Concurrently the central part of the country suffered a shortage of water, because of precipitation 50% lower than usual. The hot and dry period in the central and eastern oblasts caused the relative soil moisture to reach unusually low values, while in the western oblasts, due to higher precipitation and close to the average temperature, soil moisture was higher than in the optimal conditions. In the main winter wheat areas located in the central and southern oblasts crop cycle was shortened, which could have a negative impact on the yield. High temperature with low humidity could affect the formation of grains and it can result in lower grain quality. Unfavourable weather conditions of the considered period lead to a continued difficult season for winter crops. Yield forecast for wheat and barley are kept on the low level. Maize started the season in favourable conditions. The above ground biomass is higher than the long term average by 30-50% which can lead to high yield this season.

European Russia and Belarus

Serious Drought Strikes Main Winter Wheat Producing Region in the South

This spring the long lasting dry weather conditions coupled with above average temperatures led to serious soil moisture deficiency in South-Russia. The water scarcity touched the winter crops in the most sensitive growing period lowering notably the yield potential. Though precipitation arrived in last dekad of May and in June easing to some degree the drought situation, primarily in the western side of the Southern district, but still significant yield losses are probable. The crop development is seasonal with good leaf area index and biomass accumulation in the northern territories.

South Russia experienced an extreme warm and dry period since 1st April causing serious drought situation in Southern, Central, and Volga district. The soil dried out dramatically and quickly due to the lack of precipitation and very high evapotranspiration. In mid-May the soil moisture content reached critically low values during the flowering and first half of grain filling stage of winter wheat. The very warm weather intensified the effect of water stress. In the last dekad of May the thermal conditions turned to be more seasonal, but in June the temperatures exceeded again the average. The phenological development indicates 1-2 weeks advance in the wide southern areas both for spring and winter crops. In the last dekad of May and in June rainfalls started finally in the western part of the Southern Federal District partly normalizing the situation here. The eastern regions remained dry. Most probably this precipitation arrived too late for winter crops to avoid the significant yield losses since there are no more changes for crop recovery. Nevertheless the further decrease of yield potential was stopped and additionally it will be beneficial for spring crops. The drought decreased biomass accumulation sharply in Rostovskaya and Volgogradskaya Oblasts as well as in Kransnodarskiy and Stavropolskiy Krays which are among the biggest wheat producing districts of Russia. To a lesser extent the effect of water scarcity is observable in Central Black Earth Region, particularly in Belgorodskaya, Voronezhskaya, Lipetskay and Tambovskaya furthermore also far in Saratovskaya Oblasts. The reduced biomass and photosynthetic activity is well detectable on the remote sensing images. In the northern regions the crop development is more or less normal and wide areas from Moscow to St. Petersburg shows above average crop growth.


Seasonal Weather and Average Yield Outlook

Normal thermal conditions and plentiful rain characterised the weather from May 20 till June 15 providing usual conditions for crop growth and development. The actual crop status is better than usual and consequently our yield forecast is slightly above the 5 years average. The analysis of remote sensing images confirms these moderately positive expectations.

The southern regions were slightly warmer, meanwhile the northern areas were colder than average during the considered period. The temperature showed considerable fluctuation. Especially, in the first days of June it was significantly colder than usual, since the minimum temperatures decreased to +2- +4°C, but fortunately no frost was reported. The last dekad of May was dry with no or negligible rains (<5 mm) in the wide central areas and just some areas along the border experienced 10-20 mm precipitation. The first half of June was rainy compensating the lower water income of the previous dekad. The precipitation pattern indicates a high spatial variability. The cumulated rainfall reached 50 mm everywhere and exceeded 100 mm in some spots in Brest, Minsk and Mogilev regions. The global radiation was mostly seasonal, though remained below average in Mogilev and Gomel regions.

The soil moisture is higher than usual for all crops. The phenological development of spring barley and winter wheat is anticipated by nearly one week in the southern regions, whilst in northern half of the country the precocity is also positive, but less. Our model simulations indicate above average water limited biomass values and leaf area index values for all crops, but the advantageous asset seems to be decreasing in time, accordingly our yield outlook was revised down. The current yield forecast is based on the determination of most similar years considering the modelled main crop parameters.

Rainfall: Belarus

Maghreb Countries: Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia

Crops Slightly Recovered from Drought

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

The period analysed until 15 June shows improved biomass development suggesting that the crops are slightly out of drought stress that hit at earlier crop growth stages in Morocco. Better yield could have been anticipated in presence of more rainfall in last months which unfortunately is not the case. In view of prevailed weather scenarios and crop performances, the forecast is still under five-year average values for both wheat and barley. In exchange Algeria and Tunisia anticipate good yields especially Tunisia with yields much above the fiveyear average values.

Pastures in Europe - Update Remote Sensing Monitoring

Positive Outlook for Most of Europe, Except the Iberian Peninsula

The scarce precipitation in the Iberian Peninsula continues limiting the pasture development. In most of Europe recent rainfalls and increased temperatures describe a positive scenario for biomass production. Conditions are improving significantly in south east Europe thanks to the rainfalls received in the last weeks.

In western Spain and Portugal the dry spell extends also to May and June, limiting production to levels substantially below an average year, especially in the Dehesa area. In Italy the overall outlook is quite positive. The increase of temperatures during the first week of June, accompanied by significant precipitation –especially in the North–is boosting biomass production. Production levels remain above the average in UK, Ireland and France, with the exception of Champagne-Ardenne and Lorraine, gradually recovering their seasonal values after a rather cold winter. Average biomass production is expected for Benelux. In North-Western Germany, low daily temperatures are limiting pastures growth at the beginning of June, whereas in Bayern and the rest of the South biomass production remains high. Austria, Czech Republic and Slovakia exhibit similar conditions to southern Germany.

South of Poland is reaching little by little seasonal production levels thanks to an increment in average temperatures during May. In the north of the country, as well as in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania the positive evolution of pastures growth experienced along spring is continuing in June, with abundant rainfall that will increase biomass production in the following weeks. Expectations remain above the average in Denmark, Sweden and Finland as well.

May has been excellent for Romania, from a meteorological point of view, with abundant rainfalls that will benefit the pastures production in this start of the summer. The current production rates are quite high compared to seasonal values, favoured by mild temperatures at the beginning of June. This mitigates slightly the important deficit of biomass accumulated from the beginning of the season, compared to an average year. The evolution of pastures in the second half of the season is expected to be quite positive.


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