The December edition of the MARS ‘Crop Monitoring in Europe’ bulletin, published on the 17th December, reports that winter cereal hardening is progressing well despite erratic weather patterns experienced throughout Europe from late November to mid-December.
The bulletin reports that milder conditions than normal were prevalent during the last dekad of November, but that severe and frequent frost events characterised much of the continent in the first dekad of December, with abundant precipitation throughout most of Europe. By mid-December, much of Europe was covered in thick snow, at depths of 5-20 cm.
Above-average precipitation was recorded during the end of November and early December in much of Europe, from Germany to Turkey and central Russia, with excessive precipitation in England, the Alps and along coastlines of Spain, Italy and Greece. Above-average rainfall occurred in Morocco and Algeria, while in some parts of Spain, Scandinavia, and central Europe hardly any precipitation was recorded.
MARS simulations found that winter cereals are hardening well and that no frost-kill damage had occurred by the 10th December, with tolerance levels ranging from slight in the south, to medium in western and central Europe, to fully hardened in northern Europe. Based on medium-range weather forecasts, the bulletin predicted that Europe would remain free of frost-kill damage at least until 26 December. Above-average thermal conditions eastward of Poland-Croatia are reported as favouring the development of winter crops.