Prairies: Cold Weather And Some
Dryness Raise Questions For Crop Prospects
While April 2002 precipitation was near
normal (which is generally light) across much of the Prairie Provinces, soil
moisture is relatively low as a result of last year’s drought.
April precipitation both in the form of snow and rain was only about 25
millimeters across Manitoba, southern Saskatchewan, and much of Alberta.
Precipitation was lighter across the major spring grain growing area of
central Saskatchewan and eastern Alberta. Temperatures
average 9 to 15 degrees C below normal during April and colder than normal
temperatures have continued into the first week of May.
As a result, spring grain planting is lagging behind normal.
Northwestern Africa: Rains Touched All Winter Grain Areas During April
As of the first week of May 2002, winter
grains were in the late filling to maturing stages across Northwestern Africa.
In general during April, rainfall shifted from week to week from Morocco
and western Algeria to Tunisia and eastern Algeria. During the first week of April, 10 to 50 millimeters of much
needed rain fell across Tunisia’s northern growing area.
This rainfall stabilized crop conditions after several weeks of dryness.
Morocco and western Algeria also saw moderate showers that week with
rainfall amounts ranging from 25 to 65 millimeters.
Moderate rain again fell across Morocco and western Algeria the following
week. However, during that second
week of April, dry weather again stressed winter grains in eastern Algeria and
Tunisia. During the third week of
April, rainfall shifted to central Algeria and light rain fell across eastern
Algeria and Tunisia, providing some relief for filling grains.
From April 21 through 27, light showers, from 10 to 25 millimeters, again
provided late-season moisture for filling grains in eastern Algeria and Tunisia.
Only light and scattered rain fell across eastern Algeria and Tunisia during the
first week of May. Warmer
temperatures that week also hastened the maturation of winter grains.
Brazil and Argentina: Heavy Rains Caused Flooding In Argentina While Drier Weather Hurt Crops in Central Brazil
During April 2002, a persistent pattern of high pressure sat over south-central Brazil and caused drought to develop in Parana, Mato Grosso do Sul, and Sao Paulo, severely stressing winter corn. Rains finally returned to a portion of Parana during the week of April 28 through May 4. While this rain brought some drought relief, much more moisture is needed to make up for the earlier shortfall, especially since the corn is entering the moisture critical reproductive and filling stages. While Brazil suffered from this drought, portions of northern Argentina received week after week of excessive rainfall. This poorly timed rain interfered with cotton and further south to a lesser extent with oil seed harvest. As of April 26, nationwide, corn, soybeans, sunflower, and sorghum all lagged behind recent years harvest progress.
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