Heat wave on the continent hits crop yields (rain is the problem in Ireland)

Yield forecasts from the European Commission for all crops at EU-28 level have been lowered compared to last month’s forecast due suboptimal weather conditions.

The forecast for winter cereals remains above the five-year average but the forecast for total cereals dropped just below the five-year average, due to the significant downward revision for grain maize.

According to the Commission’s latest outlook prolonged and intense heat waves in July affected important crop land areas in northern Italy, France, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary.

Maximum temperatures often exceeded 35°C and locally reached 40°C, hitting spring and winter crops during grain filling and maize while flowering.

In Spain, the Commission says drought conditions worsened in the central and southern regions, causing severe damages to non-irrigated crops during grain formation and grain filling stages.

Dry and hot conditions also prevailed over Ukraine and Belarus reducing the yields expectations for winter crops, it says.

In the UK, the Commission outlook says the southern regions are experiencing a persistent rainfall deficit.

In contrast a surplus of rain is still persistent in northern Europe, according to the outlook affecting spring crops during the flowering stages in Finland.

A surplus of precipitation is also recorded in northern Turkey, with beneficial effects for summer crops.

Ireland

Meanwhile, unsettled weather conditions has seen the 2015 harvest stutter to a start.

Rain over the weekend and this week has stopped play in many areas.

With growers are hoping that they might get a short combining window available to them later in the week.

Initial indications are that crop quality is good but it will take a number of weeks before yields can be accurately assessed.

Reports suggest that winter barley crops in the South East are yielding surprisingly well, despite the cold spring conditions.

Earlier in the year, many tillage farmers were predicting that winter barley crops would be doing well to yield up to 3t/ac. But as it turns out, most crops are coming in at between 3.3t to 4.3t/ac.

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