Good growth conditions push forecasts for EU-28 crop yields up

In most regions in Europe, weather conditions have been favourable for winter crop growth and spring sowings, according to the European Commissions latest crop monitoring service report from MARS.

In general, the report says that the current prospects for EU-28 yields are above the five-year average, and the forecast for total cereals has increased compared to the last bulletin, reflecting the good growth conditions.

In most of Europe for March, frost events were sparse and mild, while only moderate frost events were experienced in the region comprising Britain and Ireland, continental Europe south of the North and the Baltic Seas, Ukraine and southern Russia, it found.

There was above average rainfall in most of Europe over the last month which can be attributed to recurrent low-pressure weather systems arriving from the Atlantic.

While these weather systems caused ample rainfall (over 90mm) in Ireland, the UK and France, the MARS report found that markedly drier-than-usual weather conditions occurred in a few regions in Europe.

According to the MARS report, winter crops are faring well and crop development remains slightly advanced in the UK and average in Ireland.

Meanwhile, it found that conditions for spring crops have been less than ideal. Weather and soil moisture conditions were favourable for planting in mid-March, it says, but the emergence and development of early sown crops have been slow due to low soil temperatures.

However, since the last 10 days of March, it found that planting and other field activities have been hampered in Ireland and the UK, by frequent rainfall events.

As it is still early in the season, the MARS report maintains its yield outlooks as being close to the long-term trend or the five-year average.