Near- to above-normal temperatures and precipitation during March sustained good to excellent prospects for winter crops.
The warmth (2-5°C above normal) accelerated winter crops out of dormancy several weeks ahead of normal across northeastern Europe and maintained faster-than-normal development elsewhere.
Widespread showers improved soil moisture for wheat and rapeseed from France and southern Germany into the Balkans following a drier-than-normal winter.
In Spain, dry weather in the north (25-50 percent of normal) contrasted with beneficial rain in the south (locally more than 200 percent of normal), resulting in mixed yield prospects for winter wheat and barley.
During march, conditions were favorable for winter wheat in Russia, while short-term drought developed in central Ukraine.
Mild, wet March weather eased crops out of dormancy in central Russia and promoted earlier-than-normal wheat development in southern portions of the country.
In contrast, pronounced dryness (10-25 percent of normal) further reduced soil moisture for vegetative winter wheat in central and southern Ukraine.
However, the dry weather allowed sowing of spring grains and summer crops to get off to an early start.
Meanwhile, locally more than twice the normal monthly rainfall in western Ukraine and Belarus boosted moisture reserves for spring grains and summer crops.
During March, seasonably cold, snowy conditions prevailed
in the north while rain and snow boosted moisture supplies
for dormant winter wheat in the south.
Central Russia and
neighboring portions of northern Kazakhstan remained
covered by a deep snowpack for much of the month as
seasonal cold (readings occasionally below -20°C)
prevailed over the region.
Farther south, rain and snow
(100-200 percent of normal) maintained adequate to
abundant moisture reserves for dormant to early vegetative
winter wheat in Uzbekistan.