WORLD AGRICULTURAL WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS
December 11, 1998
UNITED STATES: Above-normal temperatures prevailed nearly nationwide, especially during the last 10 days of November, promoting final summer crop harvesting and winter wheat establishment. Increasingly wet weather arrived in the Pacific Northwest after mid-November, benefitting the region's major winter wheat areas. Meanwhile, cool, occasionally showery weather in California's San Joaquin Valley further delaying cotton harvesting. Farther east, intensifying drought stretched through a fifth month in the Mid-Atlantic region, extending into parts of the Ohio Valley and Southeast. An exception to the Eastern dryness was Tropical Storm Mitch's passage across southern Florida on November 4-5, when heavy rainfall and gusty winds caused minor damage to vegetables.
SOUTH AMERICA: Below-normal November rainfall caused unfavorably dry topsoils for soybean germination and corn development in extreme southern Brazil. Near-normal rainfall maintained adequate soil moisture elsewhere in southern Brazil. Despite early November rainfall, recent dryness is limiting topsoil moisture for summer crop planting and germination in central Argentina. Below-normal rainfall stressed reproductive winter wheat in southern Buenos Aires.
EUROPE: Cold, wet weather hampered sugar beet harvesting in the northwest, while below-normal rainfall helped summer crop harvesting in France and Spain. Topsoil moisture was becoming limited for winter wheat planting in Spain. Unseasonably cold weather since mid-November caused winter grains in western Europe to enter dormancy earlier than usual. The cold weather kept winter grains dormant in the north and east.
FSU-WESTERN: The combination of fall drought and unseasonable cold in November in eastern Ukraine and southern Russia caused winter wheat to enter dormancy poorly established, making the crop more susceptible to winterkill conditions. Farther north, an unusually early snow cover in northern Russia and Belarus protected winter grains from periods of bitterly cold weather.
NORTHWESTERN AFRICA: Following a late start to the autumn rainy season, moderate to heavy rain since mid-November in Algeria and Tunisia provided abundant moisture for winter grain planting. In Morocco, recent showers prompted widespread winter grain planting, delayed by previous dryness.
SOUTH AFRICA: Conditions are mostly favorable for the germination and establishment of corn and other summer crops due to this season's widespread and frequent spring showers. The planting pace should be well ahead of last year's drought-hampered effort. In Western Cape, mid-November rain caused minor distruptions in the wheat harvest.
SOUTHERN ASIA: In mid-November, tropical cyclones brought heavy rain and local high winds to coastal rice areas of eastern India. Conditions elsewhere have been generally favorable for maturing summer crops, although late-season showers in central India may have affected the quality of some unharvested cotton. Winter grain and oilseed planting progressed across northern and central growing areas while in southern India, rabi (autumn-planted) crops have generally favorable moisture levels for establishment.
EASTERN ASIA: In the North China Plain, continued below-normal rainfall limited soil moisture for rainfed winter wheat. Adequate irrigation supplies exist for irrigated winter wheat. Seasonably cold weather prompted winter wheat to begin entering dormancy across the region. Below-normal November rainfall favored rice harvesting in south-central China, the Korean peninsula, and most of Japan.
SOUTHEAST ASIA: During November, three tropical cyclones (Chip, Dawn, and Elvis) brought above-normal rainfall to southern Vietnam, slowing rice harvesting. Above-normal rainfall also slowed rice harvesting in northeastern Thailand. Near-normal rainfall maintained adequate moisture for main-season grains in Java, second-season grains in the Philippines, and oil palm across peninsular Malaysia.
AUSTRALIA: During November, periods of locally heavy rain in east-central Australia worsened winter wheat quality prospects and hampered early development of cotton and sorghum. Excessive moisture along the east coast reportedly resulted in reduced sugarcane production. Elsewhere, the current drying trend in the southeast favors winter grain dry down and harvesting, but recent showers in Western Australia may have disrupted fieldwork.