WORLD AGRICULTURAL WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS
April 10, 2002
UNITED STATES: Persistently cold March weather affected much of the Nation. Cold conditions kept winter wheat dormant from the northern Plains to the lower Great Lakes region, and slowed wheat growth in the Ohio Valley. Meanwhile, March precipitation patterns were consistent with those observed during recent months. Another dry month in the Southwest assured below-normal spring and summer streamflows. Farther north, recovery from the drought of 2000-01 continued across the interior Northwest. On the Plains, beneficial rainfall dampened southernmost areas, but drought continued to stress winter wheat elsewhere in the region. In contrast, extremely wet conditions slowed spring fieldwork from northeastern Texas to the southern Ohio Valley. In the Midwest, soil moisture ranged from short across the western Corn Belt to adequate or locally excessive in the Ohio Valley. In the East, near-normal March precipitation moistened topsoils for pasture and winter grain development and, in the southern Atlantic region, for summer crop germination, despite underlying drought.
SOUTH AMERICA: In central Argentina, above-normal March rainfall eased February dryness for summer crops, especially later planted corn and soybeans. Excessive rainfall caused flooding and possible damage to maturing cotton in northern Argentina. In southern Brazil, above-normal March rainfall favored immature soybeans, especially those stressed by the January drought in Rio Grande do Sul. Elsewhere, near- to below-normal rainfall favored soybean and main-season corn harvesting. However, much-below normal March rainfall in Parana reduced soil moisture for winter corn germination..
EUROPE: Unseasonably mild weather throughout most of March spurred crop development in the south and west and greening in the northeast, although cooler weather toward the end of the month slowed growth. Showery weather in northern Europe maintained adequate moisture supplies for winter grains and oilseeds, while timely rains in Spain and Portugal helped winter grains. In contrast, below-normal rainfall in central and southern Italy hampered durum wheat development, while more rain was needed from Hungary southward along the Danube river to improve winter grain prospects.
FSU-WESTERN: In March, unseasonably mild weather prompted winter wheat in Ukraine and Southern Russia to break dormancy 2-3 weeks earlier than usual and raised soil temperatures to favorable levels for spring grain planting. Since early April, colder weather halted further greening of winter grains, while light rain and snow slowed early spring grain planting.
NORTHWESTERN AFRICA: In March, above-normal precipitation stabilized conditions for drought-stressed winter grains in Morocco. In eastern Algeria and Tunisia, rainfall continued to be below-normal, stressing winter grains in, or entering, reproduction.
MIDDLE EAST AND TURKEY: In March and early April, warm, showery weather improved winter wheat prospects throughout the region, including previously dry sections of western Iran. March temperatures, averaging 2 to 3 degrees C above normal, induced crops out of dormancy earlier-than-usual in central Turkey and western Iran.
SOUTH ASIA: During March, lingering showers benefited winter grains and oilseeds. In early April, seasonable warmth and dryness aided early harvesting in India's eastern winter crop areas. .
EASTERN ASIA: Across the North China Plain, warm, dry March weather increased the need for supplemental irrigation of vegetative winter wheat. However, early April rainfall provided much needed moisture for winter grains. In Manchuria, late March and early April rainfall increased topsoil moisture for summer crop planting. In the Yangtze Valley, above-normal March rainfall boosted moisture supplies for winter crops and upcoming summer crop planting. Across southern China, near-normal March rainfall increased moisture for sugarcane, and early rice and summer crop planting..
SOUTHEAST ASIA: In March, unseasonably wet weather prevailed throughout Thailand, providing moisture to second-crop rice. Dry weather in southern Vietnam reduced moisture for winter-spring rice. Near- to above-normal rainfall slowed second-crop grain harvesting in the Philippines. In eastern Java, Indonesia, above-normal rainfall slowed main-season rice harvesting. Near-normal precipitation in peninsular Malaysia increased moisture for oil palm..
AUSTRALIA: In late March, a brief outbreak of locally heavy rain raised concerns for quality of cotton and other maturing summer crops in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales. Winter crop areas of Western Australia and the southeast received only widely scattered pre-planting rainfall.
SOUTH AFRICA: Since mid-March, unseasonable warmth and dryness hastened maturation of corn and other summer crops, while increasing irrigation requirements for immature sugarcane, fruits, and vegetables.