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Dry Spell Takes Toll on Crops and Livestock

by 5m Editor
15 March 2012, at 9:21am

SPAIN - The Spanish grain crop outlook for 2012-13 is at a very critical situation due to the driest winter ever recorded. While April and May rainfalls usually determine the size of the crop, this year’s dry conditions might have already taken a toll on final yields on winter grains.

Similar rain patterns have occurred in previous years. However, initial soil moisture, which is critical for the development stage of the first crop, is particularly low this year.

According to the USDA report, Still no Rain in Spain, Spain’s total dam water reservoirs are at 62.5 percent of capacity, which means that there are 34,764 hm3 of dam water available. While in Andalusia dams are at good levels of storage capacity, the Ebro basin, which covers the grain growing regions of Aragon, Navarra and Catalonia, is reportedly at 59.0 of its water storage capacity.

Until mid-February, cold temperatures had kept the grain crops dormant. This helped in the prevention of drought damage.

Crops in Andalucía, Castile-La Mancha and Aragón already show signs of lowered vegetation health. While the same signs apply to Castile y Leon, based on previous years’ crop behavior, the situation could still be reversed if weather conditions improve.

The weather conditions in Spain are also affecting livestock production, putting livestock at risk. Pasture land has been affected by dry conditions and less pasture availability is forcing extensive livestock farmers to increase input costs by supplementing their animals in quantities over normal levels.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.