WORLD AGRICULTURAL WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS
April 9, 1999
UNITED STATES: In March, widespread precipitation fell from the central and southern Plains into the East, benefiting winter wheat and improving pre-planting moisture. Farther north, mostly dry weather in the northern Plains and the Midwest promoted spring fieldwork. In the Pacific Northwest, slightly drier weather eased the spring flood threat following an exceptionally wet winter. Toward month's end, rain reached southern Texas, providing much-needed moisture for spring plantings. In contrast, warm, mostly dry weather depleted soil moisture in the Southwest and Peninsular Florida. Below-normal temperatures prevailed in California and from the southern Plains to the Ohio Valley and Southeast, slowing the development winter wheat and spring-sown crops.
SOUTH AMERICA: In central Argentina, above-normal precipitation in March provided adequate to excessive moisture for second-crop soybeans, but slowed corn and sunflower harvesting. Heavy showers possibly caused some damage to summer crops in southern Cordoba and northern Argentina. Below-normal March rainfall stressed filling soybeans in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Early April showers, however, alleviated the dryness. Heavy showers slowed soybean harvesting in Mato Grosso, Brazil, but drier weather during late March and early April favored fieldwork.
EUROPE: Above-normal temperatures promoted the rapid development of winter grains in most of the continent. In Spain, unfavorable dryness in March spread into northern areas, increasing stress on winter grains and newly-sown summer crops. In northern Europe, above-normal temperatures raised soil temperatures for spring grain emergence, while periods of dry weather favored planting. In eastern Europe, below-normal precipitation eased flooding in Hungary and northwestern Romania and helped early spring fieldwork in the Balkans.
FSU-WESTERN: Periods of mild, dry weather in March in Ukraine and the North Caucasus region in Russia favored greening of winter grains and early spring fieldwork. Winter grains remained dormant in the remainder of Russia, Belarus, and the Baltics. A steady rise in temperatures in northern Russia melted a deep snow cover. Since early April, spring grain planting in Ukraine and North Caucasus continued to advance northward, helped by several days of warm, dry weather.
NORTHWESTERN AFRICA: In Morocco and western Algeria, unseasonably warm, dry weather since March 18 limited moisture for winter grains, advancing through reproduction. In eastern Algeria, periodic showers maintained adequate moisture for winter grain development. In Tunisia, soaking rain in late March reversed a period of prolonged dryness since mid-February, improving prospects for winter grains.
SOUTH AFRICA: The trend of drier-and warmer-than-normal weather continued across the corn belt. However, scattered showers and cooler weather in early March helped to locally stabilize heat-stressed corn. In late March, warm, dry weather benefited maturing summer crops. In Western Cape, periods of heat and dryness maintained elevated irrigation requirements in orchards and vineyards.
EASTERN ASIA: Much needed precipitation fell across the North China Plain during mid-March, benefiting vegetative winter wheat. Moisture will be needed as the crop enters reproduction during mid-April to early May. Near- to above-normal March rainfall provided adequate moisture across the Yangtze Valley and southeastern China for early rice transplanting and winter oilseeds.
SOUTHEAST ASIA: In March, above-normal precipitation continued to slow second-crop grain harvesting and caused flooding along the eastern Philippines. Near- to above-normal rainfall maintained moisture supplies for oil palm across peninsular Malaysia. Below-normal March rainfall aided main-season rice harvesting in Java, Indonesia. Late-March and early-April rainfall increased moisture supplies for rice in eastern Thailand and Vietnam.
AUSTRALIA: Periodic showers kept maturing summer crops unfavorably wet across the east. In early April, locally excessive rain may have damaged open-boll cotton in primary production areas of New South Wales. Elsewhere, widespread, locally heavy rain during mid-March benefited pastures and grazing land in the west and southeast. The rainfall also helped to ease long-term dryness in Australia's southern winter grain belts, although more will be needed in upcoming months to improve planting prospects.