Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Latest USDA weather update

Volume 101, No. 15, full report available here.

Early-week cold gave way to more seasonable temperatures, while unfavorable dryness persisted in parts of Ukraine.

Temperatures during the beginning of the period dropped as low as -8°C across central and eastern Ukraine and -5°C in Russia’s Southern and North Caucasus Districts.  

Winter wheat in the coldest areas was likely in the tillering to early jointing stages (G.S. 30-31) of development, and consequently could withstand temperatures as low as -9°C.  However, more advanced winter grains in Ukraine may have been susceptible to burnback in the coldest locales.  By week’s end, temperatures rebounded into the teens and lower 20s (°C), mitigating any further freeze threat.  

More importantly, the first significant rain of the spring (locally up to 25 mm) arrived in Ukraine, providing much-needed soil moisture for vegetative winter crops and recently-planted small grains.  Despite the rain, longer term deficits persists, with north-central portions of Ukraine - a key corn area - reporting less than 50 percent of normal precipitation over the past 90 days.  

In contrast, additional light to moderate rain and wet snow (2-20 mm liquid equivalent) in Russia, Belarus, and Moldova maintained adequate soil moisture for winter wheat development and upcoming summer crop planting.