WORLD AGRICULTURAL WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS
February 8, 2001
UNITED STATES: In January, unusually dry weather persisted in northern California and the Northwest, raising concerns about spring runoff prospects and summer water supplies. Meanwhile, beneficial precipitation returned to the Southwest after a dry December. Farther east, mild, mostly dry weather prevailed for most of the month in the Plains and Corn Belt, providing a respite from December's harsh conditions. Toward month's end, however, a strong winter storm produced heavy rain, freezing rain, and snow across the nation's mid-section, stressing livestock and leaving many fields and feedlots muddy. Across the South, occasional heavy rain also left fields muddy, primarily from the Delta westward. In contrast, only light showers fell across drought-affected Peninsular Florida, reducing water supplies and maintaining heavy citrus irrigation demands. A persistently cool weather pattern affected Florida, culminating in a significant freeze on January 5. Toward month's end, warmer weather across southern Texas promoted fieldwork and crop development.
SOUTH AMERICA: In central Argentina, above-normal January rainfall boosted soil moisture for reproductive to filling corn and sunflowers, and vegetative to reproductive soybeans. The rains were especially welcomed in La Pampa and western Buenos Aires, where earlier dryness stressed summer crops. In southern Brazil, mostly near-normal January rainfall maintained adequate to abundant soil moisture for vegetative to reproductive soybeans.
EUROPE: In January, unseasonably mild weather continued to provide favorable overwintering conditions for dormant and semi-dormant winter grains. Frequent rainfall continued in western Spain and Portugal, hampering winter wheat planting and late corn harvesting. Elsewhere, near- to above-normal precipitation maintained adequate to locally excessive moisture supplies, except in southeastern Europe, where a soil moisture deficit remained. Although beneficial rain and snow fell across parts of southeastern Europe, frequent precipitation is still necessary to end long-term drought.
FSU-WESTERN: In January, overwintering conditions remained generally favorable for winter grains. Unseasonably mild weather kept major winter wheat producing areas snow-free, and caused some loss of winter hardiness. In early February, light to moderate snow increased protective snow cover and eased prolonged dryness in Ukraine and southern Russia.
NORTHWESTERN AFRICA: In January, near- to above-normal precipitation improved moisture conditions for winter grain development in northern Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. A drying trend since mid-January in southern Morocco has limited moisture for vegetative crops.
MIDDLE EAST AND TURKEY: During January, warmer- and drier-than-normal weather dominated the region, leaving most winter wheat areas void of snow cover. In early February, heavy rain increased irrigation reserves in sections of western Turkey, but missed winter wheat areas of the Anatolian Plateau.
SOUTH ASIA: During January, light, scattered showers improved local moisture levels in winter grain and oilseed areas of Pakistan and northern India. Elsewhere, warm, dry weather favored main-season cotton harvesting and development of winter-grown crops, including rice.
EASTERN ASIA: During January, much-above-normal precipitation boosted moisture supplies for winter crops across the North China Plain and the Yangtze Valley. Snow blanketed the North China Plain, protecting dormant winter wheat from very cold weather during mid-January. Above-normal rainfall benefited sugarcane across southern China. January temperatures averaged near normal across the North China Plain and above normal across the Yangtze Valley and southern China.
SOUTHEAST ASIA: In January, seasonably dry weather prevailed in Thailand, while dry weather reduced irrigation supplies for rice in most of Vietnam. Near- to above-normal rainfall caused localized flooding in the Philippines. Well-above-normal rainfall in peninsular Malaysia and Java, Indonesia favored oil palm and rice, respectively.
AUSTRALIA: Since mid-January, showery weather has increased moisture levels in the eastern summer crop areas. In early February, however, heavy rain may have caused isolated flooding of cotton, sorghum, and sugarcane.
SOUTH AFRICA: A drying trend reduced moisture reserves for reproductive summer crops across the corn belt. Showers in late January and early February helped to stabilize crops in traditionally higher-yielding areas, although dry pockets persisted in important white corn areas of Free State and North West.