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Crop Model Simulations Predict Europe Forecasts

26 April 2012

EU - As the season advances, crop model simulations are more and more used to forecast winter cereals. In northern Europe and the Baltic States, forecasts are still based on the trend analysis.

An intermingled start of the season and problems related to low biomass development are noted for Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Poland and partly Germany.

Good conditions with promising yield potential so far are found in France and Italy and also the start of the spring barley season in Spain is promising, according to the latest Mars Bulletin.

In general the current prospects for EU 27 yields are on average. Compared to the last issued forecasts rape seed has been revised down, below biomass accumulation is now apparent in the crop growth model and the yield potential has been decreased due to frost damage.

The low yield potential for durum wheat in Spain is confirmed and yields are again revised down compared to the last Mars Bulletin.

France: Favourable weather for crop development

Weather conditions during the last month benefited the development of winter crops. After a cold February where temperatures dropped drastically the development of winter cereals, March and April have been substantially warmer than usual, especially in the south-eastern regions.

Although the rainfall accumulation from December is around 20-30 per cent lower than the average, remote sensing data reveals that, up to now, no effects of water stress in the crops can be detected.

Durum wheat in southern regions continues its development favoured by the abundant rainfalls received in the last weeks. In central and northern France, soft wheat and winter barley have reached heading stage, and crop indicators depict a vegetative development higher than seasonal values.

Germany: Intermingled start of the season

Germany experienced generally milder than seasonal conditions from beginning of December until the last days of January, until the country like the rest of Europe was hit by an extremely cold period until mid-February. Our winter kill simulations pointed mainly to eastern Germany and recent analysis of remote sensing information confirms a bad start to the season in Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt and Brandenburg.

Crop growth was slowed down significantly in April due to the cold temperatures. Crop yield forecasts are now based on the results of our crop growth model for soft wheat, durum wheat, winter barley, triticale and rape seed and are generally revised down compared to the trend values of the last bulletin due to the cold spell damage.

Poland: Winter kill of biomass in main agricultural areas

December and the first two dekads in January were very mild in Poland, with temperatures above the long term average and maximum daily temperatures exceeding 10°C. In this period the surplus of cumulated active temperatures (Tbase > 0°C) exceeded the long term average by more than 100 Growing Degree Days. Only the winter of 2006/07 brought milder temperatures.

As a consequence of the unfavourable weather conditions, winter crops yield forecast is below the five-year average.

UK & Ireland: A warm and especially dry year

Since winter, meteorological conditions over the British Isles have been characterised by overall warm temperatures and a deficit in precipitation with respect to normal conditions. The former has maintained the curve of growing degree-days above average since the beginning of the year stimulating early development for winter crops.

The unusually low precipitation over most of UK and Ireland from mid-January to late-March has caused a strong cumulated water balance deficit. However, it is still early to anticipate any effect on winter cereals yields since the small and frequent rains early April may keep top soil moisture at favourable levels for crop growth. The yield forecasts are therefore maintained based on the trend of previous years.

An exception is rape seed for which yield is revised slightly down since these recent rains are coinciding with the flowering stage, and they might hamper pollination. The recent rains also suggest conditions for sowing summer crops are relatively favourable.

Further Reading

You can view the full report by clicking here.

April 2012

TheCropSite News Desk

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