The yield outlook for EU summer crops was substantially reduced due to continued hot and/or dry weather conditions in large parts of Europe, according to the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC).

In the centre’s latest MARS (Monitoring Agriculture Resources) bulletin for July, it stated that at EU level, the yield forecasts for grain maize, sunflowers and soya beans were most markedly reduced (by 8-9%) and are now well below the five-year average.

The forecasts for winter crops – which are reaching the end of the season – were subject to minor changes at EU level, remaining close to the five-year average.

Weather and EU crops yield

The review period was marked by extremely hot and dry conditions in several regions of Europe.

Negative impacts on the yield potential of summer crops are most pronounced in regions that were already affected by long-lasting rain deficit, such as large parts of Spain; southern France; central and northern Italy; central Germany; northern Romania; eastern Hungary; and western and southern Ukraine.

Apart from direct impacts on growth, drought and heat stress in several regions coincided with the flowering stage, resulting in reduced flower fertility.

In several of the regions where summer crops rely on irrigation, water reservoirs are at a very low level, insufficient to sustain demands.

Particularly favourable conditions for crops prevailed in Ireland, Scandinavia, and the Baltic Sea region.

Irish crop outlook

According to the report, cereals in Ireland benefited from close-to-seasonal temperatures during the grain-filling stage and rainfall helped to restore soil moisture in many areas. The yield outlook remains favourable.

The end of June was colder than usual, whereas above average temperatures prevailed in July, at the end of the period of review.

Image: JRC MARS bulletin

Rainfall was at or above seasonal values, with relatively dry periods around mid-June and mid-July and radiation levels were slightly below average.

According to the JRC, Irish crops are advanced and in good condition. Spring cereals are around flowering stage, whereas, winter cereals are at grain filling stage, with favourable temperatures for yield formation.

In southern and eastern areas, the rainfall at the beginning of July helped to recover soil moisture levels.

In the north, soil water contents were maintained above seasonal levels. Harvesting of winter barley started mid-July, which is slightly earlier than usual, and is expected to continue under favourable conditions.

Model indicators continue to show close to, or above-average, biomass accumulation of winter and spring cereals. Yield expectations remain above the five-year average.