Australia: Timely Rains Benefit Winter Grain Establishment
Winter grain (wheat and barley) planting can begin in April in Australia, however the bulk of the crop is planted in May and June and planting can continue well into July. During April 2001, rainfall was below normal in Western Australia, Victoria and southern New South Wales, while beneficial showers covered South Australia, northern New South Wales and southern Queensland. During the first week of May 2001, light to moderate showers covered the interior crop areas of Queensland and New South Wales. In Western Australia, light rain and scattered showers brought relief to some winter grain growing areas, but was too light to encourage widespread planting. During the week of May 6 - 12, beneficial rain overspread Western Australias winter grain belt, increasing topsoil moisture for the upcoming crop. The eastern winter grain growing areas were dry and mild, favoring crop development. During May 13 - 19, beneficial rain boosted topsoil moisture in the winter grain areas of South Australia and Victoria, helping to condition fields for planting. Light showers again moistened the agricultural districts of Western Australia, favoring winter crop germination. From May 20 - 26, scattered, mostly light showers swept across the winter grain belts of Western Australia and the southeast, although somewhat greater amounts were recorded over South Australia. This rainfall kept topsoils moist for winter crop germination, but heavier and more widespread precipitation was needed in most areas. Above-normal temperatures in Western Australia kept evapotranspiration rates at unseasonably high levels. During the week of May 27 through June 2, a coastal storm brought beneficial rain to westernmost crop areas of Western Australia, improving topsoil moisture levels for winter crop germination. During the week of June 3 - 9, a cold front brought beneficial rain to winter crop growing areas of South Australia, Victoria, central and northern New South Wales, and southern Queensland. Rainfall amounts were 15 - 50 millimeters and were welcomed after several consecutive dry and warm weeks in several of these growing areas. Showers continued to visit South Australia and eastern growing areas through June 12. Long-term soil moisture has been adequate in most growing areas and recent rainfall has helped moisten the upper soil layer promoting establishment.
China: Drought Stressed Maturing Winter Wheat And Germinating Summer Crops Across The North China Plain
Across the North China Plain, drought continued to develop due to persistent dry, hot weather. One of the driest, warmest Mays in at least 20 years left very little moisture for germinating summer crops and maturing winter wheat. The driest area was bound by Hebei in the north, northern Anhui and Jiangsu to the south, and central Shaanxi to the west. Only very isolated showers fell during recent weeks across the region as maximum temperatures exceeded 35 degrees C for several days in southern Hebei, Beijing, and Shandong. In Manchuria, rain was mostly confined to hilly eastern portions of the region, increasing topsoil moisture for crops. However, in the main Manchurian plain, rainfall was less than 10 millimeters, with dry weather in Liaoning. Temperatures averaged 1 to 3 degrees C above normal in the North China Plain and Manchuria. Across central (Yangtze Valley) and southern China, rainfall was frequent and normal-to-above normal, maintaining adequate moisture supplies for early double-crop and single-crop rice and sugarcane. Across these southern regions, temperatures averaged 1 to 3 degrees below normal.
Mexico: Seasonal Showers Favor Normal Start to Corn Growing Season
Mexicos spring-summer corn planting typically begins during May, although the majority of the crop is normally sown in June and July. During the week of May 6 - 12, 2001, scattered showers developed across the southern Plateau, boosting soil moisture reserves for planting. Elsewhere, locally heavy showers aided citrus, coffee, and sugarcane in east-central Mexico, including Veracruz. From May 13 - 19, significant showers were confined to extreme southeastern Mexico, where seasonal rain continued to show signs of a slow northward progression. Showers again favored pre-planting corn preparation across the southern Plateau corn belt during the week of May 20 - 26. After several consecutive months of dry weather, scattered and somewhat light showers reached southern and western Tamaulipas. Across Veracruz, widespread showers increased moisture supplies for sugarcane and early corn. During the two weeks of May 27 through June 9, seasonal showers continued in earnest across southern Mexico, favoring corn planting and germination in the southern Plateau. Heavy rains also covered the Yucatan Peninsula, boosting moisture supplies for summer crops. Dry, hot weather continued to limit moisture for sorghum and pastures across north-central and northeastern Mexico.
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