Argentina & Brazil: Favorably Moist in Most Summer Crop Areas
During December 2000, near-to-above normal rainfall provided adequate soil moisture across central and northern Argentina for summer crops. In La Pampa and western Buenos Aires, however, below-normal rainfall and hot weather stressed vegetative summer crops. From January 7 through February 3, weekly showers continued to favor reproductive corn, soybeans, and sunflowers. Across La Pampa and western Buenos Aires, rains fell from January 7 - 20, relieving crop stress, but dryness returned to this area from January 21 through February 3. As of February 3, soil moisture was adequate to maintain favorable crop conditions for reproductive to filling corn and sunflowers in central and northern Argentina, including northern Buenos Aires. Stress was limited to La Pampa and western Buenos Aires.
In southern Brazil, during December 2000, widespread rainfall maintained adequate to abundant soil moisture for germinating to vegetative soybeans. During January and early February, 2001, frequent rainfall continued to maintain favorable growing conditions. Across southern Brazil, widespread showers during 2001 have maintained adequate to abundant soil moisture for coffee, sugarcane, and reproductive to filling soybeans. Only the areas of northern Minas Gerais and most of Bahia have been unfavorably dry, receiving little or no precipitation from January 7 through February 3. During this time-frame, rainfall averaged only about 50 percent of normal across coastal Bahia, reducing moisture supplies for flowering mid-crop cocoa.
Northwestern Africa: Showers Maintain Adequate Soil Moisture - But More Rain Is Needed
In December 2000, the first substantial rains of the growing season fell on winter grain areas in southern Morocco during the last half of the month, prompting widespread planting slowed by the previous dryness. Winter grains in northern Morocco received intermittent showers throughout the month, aiding winter grain emergence and early plant establishment. Farther east, below-normal precipitation fell over winter grain areas in Algeria and Tunisia, with crop areas in western Algeria receiving less than 50 percent of normal rainfall. Although the dryness in these areas favored fieldwork for winter grain planting, it reduced moisture needed for crop emergence and establishment. During the first week of January 2001, light to moderate showers continued to provide beneficial moisture for winter grains across Morocco. Dryness returned to Algeria and Tunisia, where little to no rain fell, reducing soil moisture. During January 7 - 13, precipitation was widespread across Northwest Africa, improving growing conditions for winter grains in the vegetative stage. Rainfall amounts were 10 - 40 millimeters and in some areas exceeded 50 millimeters. From January 14 - 20, warm, dry weather (less than 10 millimeters of precipitation) limited soil moisture for vegetative winter grains in Morocco. Moderate showers (25 - 60 millimeters) helped to increase soil moisture for winter grains in Algeria and Tunisia. Through mid-January, in Tunisia and eastern Algeria, seasonal rainfall continued to be 60 percent of normal. Light to moderate showers fell across northern Morocco during the week of January 21 - 27. This rainfall helped maintain adequate soil moisture for winter grains. Warm, dry weather, reduced soil moisture for vegetative winter grains in southern Morocco and Algeria. Light showers in Tunisia maintained favorable moisture conditions for winter grains. From January 28 through February 3, dry weather continued over Morocco. In Algeria, scattered showers (10 - 70 millimeters) boosted topsoil moisture benefitting developing winter grains. In Tunisia, the heaviest rainfall of the this growing season (50 - 100 millimeters), boosted topsoil moisture across its winter grains growing areas. During the period February 4th through February 7th no significant rainfall was recorded across Northwest Africa. While short term moisture levels have greatly improved over the last several weeks (with Tunisia and Algeria benefitting most), substantial long-term moisture deficits remain across southern Morocco, most of Algeria and Tunisia. Northern Morocco, and to a lesser extent, areas along the central Algerian coast however, continue to enjoy ample rainfall.
South Africa: Showers Stabilize Corn Conditions in East, Less Favorable Elsewhere
Frequent showers and warm temperatures during December 2000 maintained good soil moisture for vegetative summer crops across the Maize Triangle of South Africa, but the weather turned unfavorably dry and hot in early January 2001. Above-normal temperatures, below-normal rainfall, and declining soil moisture levels stressed corn and other summer crops approaching the drought-sensitive reproductive stage. The situation started to improve in the second half of the month, as scattered showers returned to the region and brought localized relief to eastern growing areas and parts of the North West and Free State. Temperatures continued to average 1 to 2 degrees C above normal, increasing evapotranspiration rates and hastening crop development. Dry pockets persist in northwestern growing areas of Free State and neighboring areas of North West, stressing immature corn, sunflowers, and other crops. Yield reductions are possible if these areas remain dry through February.
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