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Drought Stressing Romania Crop Conditions

02 August 2012
Information from: MARS BULLETIN – EC - JRC

ROMANIA - A severe drought has developed in Romania. Very high temperatures and a concurrent precipitation deficit has 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.

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