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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.
According to the March 2020 issue of the JRC MARS Bulletin (PDF) the 2019/2020 winter was one of the warmest in its records (since 1979).
In most regions, mean daily temperature exceeded the long-term-average by 2 °C to 4 °C.
Even higher temperature anomalies prevailed in eastern and northern Europe.
As a consequence of the mild winter, winter crops in central, eastern and northern Europe are generally in good condition. Warmer-than-usual weather is promoting early spring re-growth,with potential yield benefits.
Downsides attached to the mild winter are that increased pest and disease pressure can be expected later in spring, and that early developed crops — and especially fruit trees — might be more vulnerable to spring frost events.
Significant lack of precipitation is observed in the main durum wheat producing regions (southern Italy, large parts of Spain, Greece), as well as in large parts of southern and eastern Romania, northern Bulgaria and in the Maghreb region.
However, in most of these regions, sufficient rain is forecast to avoid imminent impact on crop yield potentials.
In contrast, important grain producing regions in north-western Europe (France, Benelux countries, Germany, United Kingdom) faced excessively wet conditions, especially in February and the beginning of March.
In these regions, winter crops often did not yet establish well and necessary field operations were hampered.
Spring crops sowings are also delayed in these regions and the more settled weather forecast for the second half of March may not be sufficient to allow field operations to fully catch up.
A more detailed overview of how agrometeorological conditions develop and how crops are faring at country level can be found in the JRC MARS Bulletin.
In this issue, a first estimate is also given of crop yield forecasts at national level, which at this early stage of the season are mostly based on an analysis of historical trends.
Increasingly accurate forecasts can be expected as the season unfolds.
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