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The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
The latest MARS crop monitoring in Europe bulletin, published today, finds that hardening of winter cereals is delayed in much of Europe, which could leave them vulnerable to frost damage.
Hardening is the bio-physiological process whereby winter cereals gain low-temperature tolerance to withstand freezing conditions that occur during the winter dormancy period. Our model simulations indicate weak frost tolerance in most of the EU, except for some parts of Finland, Sweden and the Baltic States.
In a wide area of the North, including the Baltic and Black Sea areas, hardening is delayed as it only began in the first half of November and, in the second half of the month, a period of de-hardening occurred in most regions due to the significantly warmer-than-usual weather conditions. The situation improved slightly in early December, but the hardening of winter cereals is considerably delayed. The current situation is delicate, since a cold air intrusion could cause considerable frost-kill damage in the areas characterised by no snow cover and low frost tolerance of winter crops.