Northwestern Africa: Drought Intensified Across Winter Grain Areas
High pressure dominated Northwestern Africa during February and early March, 2000, maintaining unfavorably warm and dry conditions throughout winter grain growing areas. Drought conditions worsened in Morocco and Algeria and were beginning to spread eastward into Tunisia. Most of the winter grain region has experienced 9 to 13 weeks with little to no rain. As of March 8, winter grains throughout the region were approaching the highly weather-sensitive heading stage of development. Therefore, significant rainfall is needed soon to prevent serious declines in yield prospects.
Argentina: Central Summer Crops Benefitted By Rain
During the week of February 27 through March 4, 2000, widespread rain benefitted "filling" soybeans and corn in central Argentina. Heavier rainfall, however, slowed sunflower and early corn harvesting. In northern Argentina that week, moderate to heavy rain aided filling cotton and raised some concerns for quality. Earlier in February, rainfall was light and temperatures were trending above normal in central Argentina, reducing soil moisture for the filling summer crop. According to reports as of March 3, Argentine sunflower harvesting was 25 percent complete and corn was 6 percent harvested.
Western Europe: Too Dry in South
As of March 8, 2000, dry and unseasonably warm weather continued in Spain and Portugal, stressing vegetative winter grains. Since mid-February, temperatures have been warmer than normal, further depleting available soil moisture for winter grains which are vegetative at this time. Dryness has also raised concerns for winter grains and summer crop planting in the Po Valley of Italy. Winter wheat and barley are generally in the jointing stage during the first week of March in these growing areas, with some grains approaching reproduction in the southern-most growing areas. Temperatures have also been warmer than normal in the more northern growing areas of western Europe. Frequent rainfall has help maintain adequate soil moisture for winter grains and oilseeds in England, France, the Benelux countries, Denmark, and western Germany.
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