Canadian Prairies: Spring Planting Favored By Mild Weather
In contrast with wet and cool growing conditions experienced last spring, mostly dry, warmer-than-normal weather covered the Prairies through early May 2000. This mild weather favored field preparations for spring grain and oilseed planting and helped to warm topsoils for germination. During the week of April 30 through May 6, high temperatures ranged from the middle to upper 20's degrees C, but sub-freezing lows were still common in most growing areas. Beneficial rain the following week boosted moisture reserves from central Saskatchewan to southern Manitoba. Provincial governments report that planting is underway and that planting progress is ahead of 5-year averages in many regions. Due to winter rainfall deficits in the northern sections of Alberta, including the Peace River Valley, there is concern about insufficient topsoil moisture for crop germination. Farther east in the summer crop areas, warm, mostly dry weather also dominated crop areas of Ontario and Quebec, spurring development of vegetative winter grains. However, recent rain has improved soybean and corn prospects while aiding wheat development.
Western FSU: Spring Planting Progresses With Mild Weather
Growing conditions were less than favorable during Fall 1999 for germination and establishment of winter grains across the Ukraine. In contrast, adequate soil moisture and pre-dormancy precipitation favored establishment in Russias North Caucasus and Central Black Soils growing regions. During April 2000, warmer-than-normal weather and timely precipitation favored post-dormancy growth and accelerated development in both the Ukraine and southern Russia. Precipitation in the amounts of 10 millimeters or greater, fell weekly during most of April in the crop areas of the Ukraine. Up to 25 millimeters fell during the last week of April in northern Ukraine. Rainfall was even more frequent and generally heavier across the North Caucasus. During April, the mild weather caused the winter grains crop stage to be ahead of normal, mostly jointing in the Ukraine and southern Russia as early as April 15. The mild conditions also allowed for early planting and germination of spring grains, sunflower, corn, and sugar beets. During May 3 and 4, night-time temperatures fell to "below freezing". Overall temperatures did not fall low enough or last for sufficient duration to threaten winter grains in the jointing stage. However, newly emerged corn and sugar beets may have been slightly damaged.
Northwest Africa: Tunisias Crop Condition Deteriorates
Since January 1, 2000, the key component for Northwest Africas winter grain crops has been drought in Morocco and Algeria, and increasing dryness in Tunisia. In April, rainfall increased across Northwest Africa, with some rain falling each week. Any rain that fell in Morocco or most of Algeria during this time, however, was too late to help winter grain production recover from the earlier drought conditions. Tunisia and extreme eastern Algeria faired the best in the region, receiving timely showers across their winter grain areas throughout the season. The rain in Tunisia, although minimal, was adequate to support growth. In late April and early May, hot weather following a shot of moisture prevailed across Tunisia, putting stress on winter grains and hastening maturity. Instead of benefitting the crop, the rainfall on a mature crop caused a decline in condition, promoting disease and insect pests that benefit from high temperature and humidity.
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