Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Latest USDA weather update for western FSU

Unsettled, unseasonably warm weather persisted over the region, melting the vestiges of snow cover and accelerating southern wheat out of dormancy.

Precipitation for the week totaled 5 to 30 mm, much of which was rain, over most major growing areas.

As a result, soil moisture reserves remained adequate to abundant for spring growth.

Temperatures for the week averaged 5 to 10°C above normal from northern Ukraine into central Russia, melting the remnants of snow cover and reducing winter crop cold hardiness.

Farther south, temperatures averaged more than 10°C above normal for much of the week from southeastern Ukraine into southern Russia, with daytime highs reaching into the lower and middle 20s (more typical of readings observed in mid- to late-April).

The second consecutive week of abnormal warmth caused winter crops to begin greening-up in the Krasnodar Krai (located in southern-most portions of the Southern District) more than 5 weeks ahead of average.

However, colder air returned to southern Russia toward week’s end, slowing the unseasonably early crop development.

While the recent spring-like warmth has not been detrimental to winter wheat, the early development and lack of protective snow cover has left crops more vulnerable than usual to potential incursions of late-winter or early spring bitter cold.

(We are still seeing snow in Central Russia, albeit slowly melting in warm wet conditions, but it does illustrates how remote reports like this are not always accurate, for that you really need boots on the ground, see our Crop Tour page)