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World crop weather worries abound

Jeff Caldwell 04/22/2013 @ 11:16am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

You probably can't plant any corn today. Tomorrow either, probably.

"I'm not sure where ANY significant corn acres were planted this past week. We may have actually lost some acres with cold weather and flooding," says Agriculture.com Marketing Talk veteran contributor Buckley_HF. "Trade does not seem to care. Don't see much planted this week. Maybe next Monday's report will get their attention as we creep toward May. Here in east-central Illinois, if we miss the rain expected tomorrow, I still think we are May 1 before starting."

You're not alone. Farmers in key growing regions around the world are facing -- or will soon face -- weather interruptions to crop progress, whether planting, harvest, or just plain crop development.

Let's start in northern Europe, where it's been just as much a story of moisture extremes as it has been in the U.S. over the last few months. However, just as in the U.S., that looks to improve soon, says MDA Weather Services senior ag meteorologist Don Keeney.

"Showers remain limited across Europe, which is allowing wetness to ease in Spain, but dryness to build further in eastern U.K., northeastern France, northern Germany, western Poland, and Scandinavia. Rains should return to northern U.K. and Scandinavia this week, which should improve conditions there a bit," Keeney says. "However, dryness will continue to increase in northeastern France, northern Germany, and western Poland. The continued warm temperatures in the region are stimulating winter crop growth and spring crop planting."

Head east. A long ways. China's crops have been hit hard by drought in the last few months, especially in the northeastern Yangtze River Valley, Keeney says. Some relief will likely come later this week, but a lot more is needed before farmers in that part of the world can call themselves caught up on moisture.

"Moisture remains short across south-central and southeastern North China Plain and northeastern Yangtze Valley. Some additional slight improvement is expected early this week, but more rains will still likely be needed," Keeney says. "Additional showers in southern and western Yangtze Valley through the 6-10 day period will maintain sufficient moisture for crop growth there. Rapeseed growth is finishing up in the region, and would benefit from drier weather. Moisture will likely decline again in northern North China Plain."

Before you get back to the Americas, stop by Australia. That's where the rainfall issues get serious, and concerns about moisture heading into wheat planting are starting to grow.

"Moisture continues to decline, and an upturn in showers is needed there over the next few weeks as wheat planting begins. No significant improvement is expected through next week, though," Keeney says.

Now, head back to the Americas. Before you head home, swing through Brazil and Argentina. That's where rainfall has also been limited lately, but it's coming at a better time for corn and soybean farmers in both nations, Keeney says. That rainfall respite may be ending soon, though.

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