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European Crop Outlook Mixed as Weather Conditions Bring Contrasts

The European crop outlook remains positive overall, with yield forecasts at the EU level still above the five-year average, according to the latest report from the European Commission's Monitoring Agricultural Resources and the Environment (MARS) Bulletin. However, recent weather patterns have brought both favorable and challenging conditions, impacting crop development across the continent.

The report highlights improved yield outlooks for Spain and Portugal, driven by favorable conditions. However, yields in Italy and several Western European countries, as well as in Hungary, have been revised downward.

"Crop yield forecasts at EU level remain above the 5-year average," the MARS Bulletin states. "The yield forecast for winter crops further improved for Spain and Portugal, but was reduced for Italy and several countries of western Europe; as well as for Hungary, where the overall yield outlook remains positive."

Challenges such as waterlogging, high pest pressure, and delayed sowing due to excessive rainfall have impacted crop yields in large areas of Western Europe, Denmark, and Northern Italy. An abrupt cold spell in late April caused severe damage to fruit and vineyards in several parts of Europe, though the impact on annual crops was limited.

"Wet conditions in large areas in western Europe, as well as in Denmark, and northern Italy, resulted in water logging, high pest pressure and/or delays to sowing, with potentially negative effects on crop yields," the MARS Bulletin explains.

Furthermore, the report notes the emergence of water deficits in eastern Germany and Poland, with more rainfall needed to support positive crop conditions. Warmer-than-usual temperatures and dryness in southern Italy have negatively impacted winter crop grain filling.

Looking ahead, the MARS Bulletin predicts a continuation of contrasting weather patterns in the coming weeks. While most of Europe is expected to experience warmer-than-usual temperatures, colder conditions are anticipated for parts of northern Spain, France, northern Italy, Ireland, and the southwestern UK. Precipitation is forecast for most of Europe, with heavy rainfall predicted for the Alps region.

"A low-pressure system brings storms and rain over western Europe and the Alps region, as well as in parts of central and eastern Europe," the report states. "Colder-than-usual conditions (average daily temperatures up to 2 °C, in some regions up to 4 °C, below the long-term average (LTA)) are forecast for parts northern Spain, most of France, northern Italy, Switzerland, Ireland, and south-western United Kingdom; whereas more substantial negative anomalies (locally up to 8 °C, below the LTA) are forecast in eastern European Russia."