Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Latest USDA weather update for Europe

Hard freezes posed a risk to reproductive winter crops in western growing areas, while soaking rainfall boosted soil moisture but hampered fieldwork from southern Spain into Poland.

For much of the week, a stationary frontal boundary was the focus for moderate to heavy rain (10-50 mm, locally more) from southern Spain into Poland.

The wet weather improved soil moisture for recently-planted corn, soybeans, and sunflowers, but impeded late sowing efforts.

Furthermore, heavy to excessive rain (40-170 mm) in southern Spain (Andalucía) was detrimental for filling to maturing wheat, while totals approaching 100 mm in northeastern Italy and northern Slovakia caused localized flooding.

North of the front, unseasonably cold, dry weather prevailed across much of central and northern Europe.

Crops most at risk for freeze damage included: flowering winter wheat and barley in northern Spain (5 nights of subfreezing low temperatures since April 18, with readings as low as -9°C); heading winter wheat in northern France (8 nights of freezes since April 17, with values as low as -5°C); and flowering rapeseed in northeastern France (9 nights of freezes since April 17, with a minimum of - 7°C).

The full extent of freeze impacts - if any - will not be known for days or weeks, until producers are able to inspect fields.

However, crop-stage estimates (based on growing degree day data) suggested crops were progressing through key reproductive stages of development in the aforementioned areas during the cold snap.