European crops outlook is positive, but disease alert for Ireland

Overall, the outlook for crop yields in Europe remains positive, according to the latest MARS bulletin, which also carries a high risk warning for pests and disease in Ireland. 

The MARS bulletin shows that yield outlook is predominantly positive across Europe, but there are drought concerns for Spain. It says yields for crops will be close to 2013 yields – with only minor changes (at EU-level) compared to the May forecasts.

The yield outlook for soft wheat is 4.2% above the five-year average, and is particularly good for Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and the UK, as well as for Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania and Portugal.

Weather conditions were generally favourable for the growth and development of winter and spring crops, across Europe, it says, and beneficial rains helped to restore soil water levels in the eastern UK, thus removing concerns of imminent risks of water stress. Overall, the period under review (1 May – 15 June) was characterised by above-average temperatures across the main crop-producing regions of the UK, with average temperature anomalies of up to 2°C in the eastern UK. The period was free of significant frosts, and, with very few exceptions, daily maxima stayed below 25° C. Rainfall levels tended to be well above average; locally by 50% or more. Below-average rainfall was recorded however, in the southernmost parts of Ireland.

These conditions have generally been favourable for the growth and development of crops, it goes on to say. In Ireland, crops are faring reasonably well, despite the persistently above-average rainfall in most of the country, which has been hampering timely field interventions since early spring. The alert regarding a high risk of pests and diseases continues to apply to the region as a whole, and particularly for crops in Ireland.

Yield forecasts are now all based on scenario analyses. Compared to the May bulletin, most figures were revised slightly upwards for the UK, and slightly downwards for Ireland.

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