WORLD AGRICULTURAL WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS
March 8, 2002
UNITED STATES: In California and Arizona, dry weather favored fieldwork but increased stress on dryland crops. Meanwhile, high-elevation snow packs were well below normal across the central and southern Rockies and the Southwest, increasing concerns about summer water supplies. Snow packs remained mostly above normal in the Northwest, despite a lack of February storminess. Farther east, mostly dry, breezy weather and temperature extremes continued to stress the High Plains' winter wheat crop. At month's end, some of the coldest air of the season swept across the Plains, accompanied by a widespread snowfall that provided much-needed moisture and insulation for wheat. However, the snow bypassed the southern High Plains' wheat crop, which was exposed to potentially damaging cold. The suddenly cold, snowy weather pattern persisted into early March across most of the Plains and Midwest, providing beneficial soil moisture recharge but increasing livestock stress. Meanwhile, dryness intensified across southern Texas and much of the middle and southern Atlantic regions.
SOUTH AMERICA: Across portions of central Argentina, below-normal February rainfall reduced soil moisture for filling summer crops, especially second-crop soybeans. However, slightly below-normal temperatures reduced crop water use and helped to ease crop stress. Near- to above-normal rainfall favored summer crops in central and southern Buenos Aires. In southern Brazil, slightly below-normal February rainfall reduced soil moisture for filling soybeans in Rio Grande do Sul, but not to the extent of January's drought. Elsewhere, rainfall maintained adequate to abundant soil moisture for filling to maturing summer crops, although excessive rainfall in Mato Grosso may have slowed soybean maturation.
EUROPE: Unseasonably mild weather continued across Europe in February and early March, causing winter grains to lose cold hardiness in the north. Although the increasingly mild weather supported new crop growth in parts of southern Europe, below-normal rainfall in southern Spain and extreme southeastern Europe hindered this development. Near-normal rainfall in northern Italy improved moisture supplies for future summer crop development following winter dryness, while frequent rainfall in northern and central Europe maintained abundant moisture supplies for dormant winter grains.
FSU-WESTERN: In February, overwintering conditions were mostly favorable for winter grains, although above-normal temperatures caused some loss of winter hardiness and melted protective snow cover. Above-normal precipitation boosted moisture reserves in northern Ukraine and most of Russia. Since early March, unseasonably mild, dry weather in southern Ukraine and southernmost areas in Russia likely prompted early spring fieldwork. .
NORTHWESTERN AFRICA: In February, drought developed across most of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, stressing winter grains in the vegetative stage. Since early March, light to moderate showers overspread most of the region, stabilizing crop conditions.
MIDDLE EAST AND TURKEY: Warmer-than-normal weather continued throughout the region, spurring winter wheat growth and increasing early crop moisture demands. Periodic showers benefited semi-dormant to reproductive winter wheat, although dry pockets persisted in northwestern Iran.
SOUTH ASIA: During February, showers benefited winter grains and oilseeds across Pakistan and northern India.
EASTERN ASIA: During February, unseasonably warm weather (monthly temperatures averaging 4-6 degrees C above normal) across the North China Plain prompted winter wheat to break dormancy earlier then normal. Seasonably dry weather continued across the region, necessitating supplemental irrigation. In the Yangtze Valley, near- to above-normal February and early March rainfall boosted moisture supplies for winter crops. Across the southern coastal provinces, however, much-below-normal February rainfall reduced moisture supplies for sugarcane, winter crops, and early rice and summer crop planting.
SOUTHEAST ASIA: In February, dry weather reduced moisture supplies for oil palm in peninsular Malaysia. In Java, Indonesia, heavy showers caused flooding, causing some damage to main-season rice. Warm weather favored development of winter-spring rice in northern Vietnam. Near-normal rainfall boosted moisture supplies for second-season crops in eastern and southern Luzon, Philippines, as well as, Mindanao, Philippines.
AUSTRALIA: Since early February, scattered showers benefited cotton and sorghum in New South Wales. However, the rain came too late for mature sorghum in Queensland's northern growing areas, stressed by earlier heat and dryness..
SOUTH AFRICA: A drying trend continued in northern and eastern sections of the corn belt through February, but seasonable temperatures lowered crop moisture demands and reduced the potential for stress. March showers brought some relief to filling summer crops.