WORLD AGRICULTURAL WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS
December 10, 1999
UNITED STATES: A remarkably warm, dry pattern that stressed developing winter wheat in the Plains, Ohio Valley, and South began to break down toward the end of November. Nevertheless, no rain fell during November in the southern Plains or the Southwest, and totals greater than one-half inch were scarce on the Plains except across easternmost areas. In contrast, a month-long spell of heavy precipitation kept the Pacific Northwest wet, especially from the Cascades westward to the coast. Effects of the 9-month drought lingered, however, in the interior Northwest. Farther east, drought stretched through a 16th month in much of the middle and lower Ohio Valley, despite beneficial late-month showers. Meanwhile, a fourth consecutive month of extremely dry weather left topsoils parched from central and eastern Texas to the Delta.
SOUTH AMERICA: Below-normal November rainfall stressed germinating summer crops across northern Argentina, southern Paraguay, and southern Brazil. Early-December rains brought some relief but more rain is needed. Early-December rain possibly reduced wheat quality in southern Buenos Aires, Argentina. Near- to above-normal rainfall maintained favorable soil moisture in western Argentina and Mato Grosso, Brazil. Dry weather returned to the Brazilian coffee areas by mid-November after beneficial rainfall early in the month.
EUROPE: In November, relatively dry, unseasonably cool weather in Spain, Portugal, Romania, and Bulgaria helped summer crop harvesting, but slowed winter wheat development. Near-normal precipitation maintained adequate soil moisture supplies for germinating to emerging winter grains in England, France, the Benelux countries, Italy, and western Germany. Unseasonably cold weather helped ease winter grains into dormancy in northeastern Europe about mid-month.
NORTHWESTERN AFRICA: Winter grain planting was well underway in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. In November, sufficient planting rains favored winter grain germination and establishment in most areas. Planting typically continues through December.
FSU-WESTERN: The combination of fall drought and unseasonable cold in November in south-central Ukraine caused winter wheat to enter dormancy poorly established, making the crop more susceptible to winterkill conditions. In late November, a brief episode of bitterly cold weather was observed over most of the region. In primary winter wheat producing areas of Ukraine and southern Russia, the combination of a fresh protective snow cover and short duration of extreme cold minimized the threat for significant winterkill.
SOUTH ASIA: During November, scattered showers along India's southern and eastern coast increased irrigation reserves for dry-season rice. The rain fell south of Orissa, where cyclone recovery efforts continued. Elsewhere across the region, warm, seasonably dry weather favored harvesting of summer grains, oilseeds, and cotton. Winter grain and oilseed planting progressed in the north, while rabi (winter-grown) crop planting was underway in the south.
EASTERN ASIA: In November, seasonably drier, cooler weather prevailed across the North China Plain, where moisture supplies were adequate for winter wheat establishment. The cooler weather prompted hardening of winter wheat. Across southern China, below-normal rainfall aided late double-crop rice maturation and harvesting.
SOUTHEAST ASIA: Tropical systems brought above-normal November rainfall to the central Philippines and central Vietnam, causing flooding. Seasonably drier weather by mid-November favored rice harvesting in Thailand and northern Vietnam. Near-normal rainfall maintained moisture supplies for main-season rice in Java, Indonesia and oil palm in peninsular Malaysia.
SOUTH AFRICA: Warmer- and drier-than-normal weather hindered summer crop planting in central and western sections of the corn belt during November, the optimal planting month. In early December, beneficial rain brought some relief to the affected area. November rainfall was below normal in most other major crop areas, including coastal sugarcane areas of KwaZulu-Natal and orchard and vineyard areas of Western Cape.
AUSTRALIA: n early December, a break in the pattern of chronic wetness aided winter grain harvesting in Queensland and northern New South Wales, the main Australian Prime Hard region. Rain in the southeast came too late for winter grains but improved pastures and grazing conditions. Harvests have made good progress in Western Australia.[images/footer.html]