WORLD AGRICULTURAL WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS
May 12, 1999
UNITED STATES: During April, cool conditions prevailed in the West, slowing the development of winter wheat and spring-sown crops. Near- to above-normal temperatures promoted crop development from the Plains to the East Coast. However, heavy precipitation soaked the Plains and the western Corn Belt, slowing spring planting. More favorable conditions permitted a faster planting pace across the eastern Corn Belt. In late April, beneficial showers overspread the Southeast, including Florida, reducing the risk of wildfires and aiding winter grains, pastures, and spring crops. Unfavorably warm, dry weather persisted, however, across southern Texas. In the Southwest, early-month precipitation provided temporary relief from winter dryness.
CANADA: Spring grain and oilseed planting has slowly begun across the Prairies. Nearly all major crop areas have received rain in the past 2 weeks, improving prospects for uniform germination. Warmer, drier weather is now needed to increase the pace of fieldwork. In Ontario, drier- and warmer-than-normal weather has increased growth rates of winter wheat and encouraged farmers to proceed with early corn and soybean sowing.
SOUTH AMERICA: In central Argentina, very heavy mid-April showers delayed fieldwork and damaged summer crops in southern Cordoba and Santa Fe. Furthermore, mid-April frost possibly caused some additional damage to immature cotton and soybeans. In southern Brazil, drier weather during mid- to late-April favored soybean harvesting, after wet weather slowed fieldwork earlier in the month.
EUROPE: Rain in late April in Spain came too late to improve prospects for drought-stressed winter grains in the south but improved prospects for spring-planted crops. Near- to above-normal precipitation over the remainder of Europe in April provided adequate topsoil moisture for spring grain and summer crop emergence. Recent rains delayed corn planting in southwestern France, while unseasonably cold weather slowed crop development in eastern Europe.
FSU-WESTERN: Unseasonably mild weather in April promoted rapid winter grain growth and raised soil temperatures for spring planting activities. Periodic dryness allowed spring grain and early summer crop planting to progress ahead of last year's pace. Since early May, sub-freezing temperatures as far south as Ukraine and southern Russia had little impact on jointing winter grains but may have caused some damage to newly-emerged spring grains.
NORTHWESTERN AFRICA: In April, unseasonably warm, dry weather in Morocco and western Algeria hastened maturity in winter grains. Farther east, below-normal precipitation in eastern Algeria and Tunisia limited moisture for crops in the filling stage.
SOUTH AFRICA: Autumn fieldwork has made good progress due to the general trend of mostly dry, warmer-than-normal weather. Harvesting of corn and other summer crops, including coastal sugarcane, is expanding. Wheat planting is also underway in Western Cape and the corn belt, following beneficial rain in late April. The rain in the southwest broke a heat wave that taxed irrigation reserves in important orchard and vineyard areas.
EASTERN ASIA: In the North China Plain, below-normal April and early-May rainfall in Hebei and Shandong stressed vegetative to reproductive rainfed winter wheat and slowed summer crop planting. The remaining crop areas received near-normal April rainfall. Spring wheat and summer crop planting began in Manchuria. Near- to above normal April rainfall continued to provide adequate moisture across the Yangtze Valley and southeastern China for early rice and summer crop development.
SOUTHEAST ASIA: Consistent rainfall during late-April and early-May signaled the start of the rainy season across Indochina, boosting moisture supplies for the upcoming main-season rice crops. Above-normal showers persisted into April across the eastern Philippines, slowing second-crop grain harvesting. Variable April showers prevailed across the oil palm areas of peninsular Malaysia. Below-normal April rainfall favored main-season rice harvesting in Java, Indonesia.
AUSTRALIA: Favorably drier, albeit cool weather has dominated the east for the past 4 weeks, allowing cotton and sorghum harvests to advance towards completion. Wheat and barley planting is currently underway, spurred along in Queensland, New South Wales, and Western Australia by favorable long-term moisture reserves. Rain will be needed in the southeast before winter grain planting can become widespread.