Ag Weather Forum

Dryness Hinders Russia Wheat

Joel Burgio
By  Joel Burgio , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
September continued the dry and very warm pattern in Ukraine and Russia. (NOAA Graphic)

September rainfall across large areas of south and east Ukraine through west and south Russia averaged below or well below normal. Total rainfall of less than 25% of the long-term average covered much of south and east Ukraine, portions of south Russia, the southeast part of central region of Russia and a good part of the Volga Valley.

This dry trend was accompanied by heat. Temperatures for the month averaged well above normal through many locations. The warmest areas relative to normal were in east Ukraine and south Russia with readings averaging more than 5 degrees Celsius (9 F) above normal for the month.

Dry and very warm weather during September can sometimes be favorable, as it would promote a rapid planting pace for winter grains and ensure plenty of time for the crop to become well established prior to winter dormancy. However, this season has already experienced long stretches of dry and hot weather during the months of July and August. As a result, soils have dried out to the point where farmers, in some cases, did not plant at all, while others planted the crop into very dry soils.

The dry pattern has continued during the first part of October as well, for many areas, although some have recently begun to note at least light showers. A new development during the past week is a turn to much colder-than-normal weather. This led to a hard freeze across most winter grains locations last week and this most recent weekend. The impact of this freeze would be to slow or halt germination and early development of any winter grains that have already been planted.

Dryness and the recent hard freeze leaves many locations in need of generous rains and a return to warmer weather to allow for favorable development of the crop prior to winter dormancy. Without a change in the current weather pattern, this crop will be poorly established and much more vulnerable to winterkill in the event of even normally cold winter weather.

The short-range outlook for the region does include some promise for beneficial rainfall in parts of the south Russia region, along with warmer temperatures. However, most of the balance of the region will see little significant rainfall during the next ten days. It is not looking too promising for a change to more favorable weather for the winter grain crops of Russia or Ukraine.



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