Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Latest USDA weather update for Europe

Unseasonably warm weather prevailed across the continent, with beneficial rain in northern and eastern Europe contrasting with developing short-term drought in France.

Temperatures during the 7-day period averaged 2 to 6°C above normal, melting the remaining snow cover in Poland while encouraging unseasonably early winter crop development in central and western growing areas.

In particular, winter crops in Germany began to break dormancy up to a month ahead of average, while wheat and rapeseed in France and England were likewise developing up to a month ahead of normal.

The unusually early winter crop development in France has heightened the need for soil moisture, with 90-day precipitation averaging less than 50 percent of normal over much of the country.

In contrast, a series of fast-moving disturbances produced moderate to heavy showers (10-90 mm, locally more) from central and northern England into Germany, Poland, Scandinavia, and the Baltic States.

The rain eased dryness concerns in England and southern Germany and maintained favourable moisture reserves for spring growth in northeastern Europe.

Showers (5-50 mm) also maintained good soil moisture reserves in the Balkans, though the rain bypassed the upper Danube River Valley where localised dryness concerns have developed.

In the south, showers in southern Spain slowed cotton planting, while winter grains in Spain and Italy were advancing through the vegetative stages of development in mostly good condition.