WORLD AGRICULTURAL WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS
March 11, 1999
UNITED STATES: In February, wet weather persisted in the Pacific Northwest, while dry conditions prevailed across much of the South. Beneficially drier conditions returned to the Ohio Valley, allowing excess moisture to drain from soft red winter wheat fields. Near-normal precipitation fell in much of the Corn Belt. Colder air overspread the Southeast after mid-month, beneficially slowing fruit tree bud development and winter grain growth. Above-normal temperatures on the Plains coaxed hard red winter wheat out of dormancy as far north as Nebraska. Generally below-normal temperatures prevailed along the West Coast, slowing fieldwork, especially in northern California.
SOUTH AMERICA: Warm, dry weather during mid- to late-February stressed summer crops, especially second-crop soybeans, in portions of central Argentina. Timely early March rain eased dryness in Argentina and favored filling soybeans in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Heavy showers in late February and early March slowed soybean harvesting in Mato Grosso, Brazil.
EUROPE: In Spain and Portugal, well-below-normal precipitation in February worsened conditions for winter grains. Above-normal precipitation in northern and most of eastern Europe boosted soil moisture for the upcoming growing season. However, the combination of moderate rain and melting snow in Hungary and northwestern Romania caused flooding. In early March, showers and mild weather promoted rapid greening of winter grains in western areas and caused crops in the east to lose cold hardiness.
FSU-WESTERN: In February, overwintering conditions continued mostly favorable for winter grains. Above-normal precipitation in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and the Baltics boosted potential moisture reserves. A deep snow cover remained over winter grain areas in northern Russia, protecting winter grains from bitterly cold weather in early February. Since early March, a lack of snow cover and generally dry weather in southern Ukraine and the North Caucasus region in Russia favored early season fieldwork.
NORTHWESTERN AFRICA: In Morocco, soaking rain in late February followed 4 weeks of dryness , improving moisture conditions for winter grain development. In Algeria, recent rains maintained adequate moisture conditions for winter grains. In Tunisia, a drying trend since mid-February lowered soil moisture, causing some declines in crop condition.
SOUTH AFRICA: During February, rainfall was below normal across the corn belt, reducing moisture available to corn and other reproductive to filling summer crops. Near-normal temperatures and mid-month showers mitigated the impact of the dryness. In early March, however, a heat wave severely stressed immature summer crops and accelerated crop development, compounding the effects of the country-wide drying trend.
EASTERN ASIA: In the North China Plain, seasonably dry February weather continued to limit moisture supplies for rainfed winter wheat. Continued mild weather caused wheat to start breaking dormancy across the region. Adequate irrigation supplies still exist for irrigated winter wheat. Below-normal February rainfall hampered early rice transplanting across southern China.
SOUTHEAST ASIA: Above-normal February rainfall caused flooding and slowed second-crop grain harvesting along the east-central and southeastern Philippines. Unseasonably heavy showers boosted moisture supplies in western Thailand. Below-normal February rainfall slowed rice transplanting in northern Vietnam, while near-normal rainfall maintained moisture supplies in the south. Above normal monthly rainfall maintained moisture supplies for oil palm across peninsular Malaysia. Near-normal rainfall maintained adequate moisture for filling main-season grains in Java, Indonesia.
AUSTRALIA: In early February, rainfall tapered off across southern Queensland and New South Wales, favoring cotton and sorghum development. Heavy rain returned to the region later in the month and continued into early March, hampering early harvest efforts and threatening quality. Elsewhere, coastal flooding plagued northern and extreme southern sugarcane areas. In contrast, scattered showers brought limited relief to unfavorably dry pasture and grazing lands of the southeast.