The current CropWatch bulletin describes world-wide crop condition and food production as appraised by data up to the end of October 2019. It is prepared by an international team coordinated by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The assessment is based mainly on remotely sensed data. It covers prevailing weather conditions, including extreme factors, at different spatial scales, starting with global patterns in Chapter 1. Chapter 2 focuses on agro-climatic and agronomic conditions in major production zones in all continents. Chapter 3 covers the major agricultural countries that, together, make up at least 80% of production and exports (the “core countries”) while chapter 4 zooms into China. Special attention is paid to the major producers of maize, rice, wheat, and soybean fr which the bulletin presents a global production estimate for crops harvested throughout 2019 (Chapter 5.1).
The bulletin is issued at a time when virtually all 2019 crops have been harvested in the temperate northern hemisphere, while in many tropical areas in both hemispheres rice crops are growing (to be harvested in early 2020) or are close to harvest. In the southern hemisphere the summer season/monsoon season is ongoing.
Agro-climatic conditions (Chapter 1)
Global agroclimatic conditions are assessed based on CropWatch Agroclimatic Indices which describe weather and climate over agricultural areas only. They are referred to as RAIN, TEMP and RADPAR and expressed in the same units as the corresponding climatological variables (rainfall, temperature and photosynthetically active radiation). BIOMSS is an estimate of the plant biomass production potential.
The current reporting period experienced yet another absolute global monthly temperature record (October). This followed other monthly records, especially July, the warmest month ever recorded on the planet. Considering that September was the second warmest on record, the current JASO was globally warm and dry, and this is confirmed by numerous fires listed in the section on Disasters (Chapter 5.2) on almost all continents. CropWatch uses 65 large spatial units (referred to as MRU) to asses global agro-climatic patterns, Most MRUs experienced average RAIN, 57% had above average temperature and 66% had above average sunshine.
On a continental basis, RAIN anomalies were largest in north America (+24% above average), central Asia (+22%) and in Oceania (down 38% compared with average). Low precipitation in southern and especially central America (-9%) is directly associated with a very tense situation in the “drought corridor” (refer to Chapter 5.2 on Disasters).
In North America, TEMP was 0.4°C below average, with most other areas recording closer to average temperature. Positive anomalies occured in central and eastern Asia (+0.3°C compared with average) where almost all MRUs has consistently warmer than average weather positive over their agricultural areas (89% and 100%, respectively). RADPAR was generally close to average except in South and Central America (+3%) and Oceania (+6%), where all MRUs were affected. The largest BIOMSS increase occurred in central Asia (+5%)
Acutely abnormal or damaging weather conditions are described in Chapters 3.1 by country and in Chapter 5.2 impact type. They include several tropical cyclones in different Basins: Kyarr, in the Indian Ocean, affected southern Asia and the Horn of Africa; Dorian created havoc in the Caribbean and the western Pacific, Lekima, Faxai and Hagibis affected eastern Asia and south-east Asia.
Global Agricultural production estimates (Chapter 5.1)
The bulletin provides the second revised global estimate by the CropWatch team for 2019 production of the major commodities. About 90% of the production is actually modeled and about 10% is trend-based.
The volumes produced in 2019 include 1055 million tonnes of maize, up 0.5% from 2018, 754 millions for rice (as paddy; up 4.2%), 716 million tonnes of wheat (a 0.9% increase) and 324 million tonnes of soybeans, 1.0% lower than last year’s output.
The largest net cereal production increases in million tonnes occurred in India (13.3, in spite of a drop in wheat output), China (10.6), United States (9.7), Pakistan (5.2) followed by Bangladesh (3.7), Argentina (3.3), Myanmar (2.6) and several central and western Asian countries where wheat did well after several years of poor performance (2.0 to 2.4 in Afghanistan, Iran and Uzbekistan). The largest net cereal production decreases in excess of 1 million tons affected Australia (-5.4 due to poor wheat), Kazakhstan (-3.5, wheat), South Africa (-1.7, maize), Indonesia (-1.6, rice) and Ukraine (-1.4, maize and wheat). As described in the country narratives in Chapter 3, the listed situations are directly related to prevailing environmental conditions
China (Chapter 4)
The total 2019 annual crop production is estimated at 628 million tons, up 2% from 2018. For summer crops (including maize, semi-late rice / single rice, late rice, spring wheat, soybean, tuber crops, and other minor summer crops) the output is put at 467 million tons, a 2% increase This is mainly due to the good performance of maize, the production of which reached 224 million tons, 1% above the 2018 output. Maize yields in Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning and Inner Mongolia were up 3%, 5%, 3%, and 2%, respectively. In contrast, Both Henan and Shandong maize production dropped by 2% due to drought at early growing stage.
At 203 million tons, rice production (mostly single rice and late rice) was 3% above last year’s output. Yield increase due to favorable late season weather was the main factor behind the improved production. The wheat production estimate of 126 million tons was up 2% over 2018.
Soybean output (14441 thousand tons) underwent a year-on-year increase of 3%. 2019 was the fourth consecutive year of increased soybean hectarage and production. In Heilongjiang, the main soybean region of China, production was up 8%. This is exceeded in Jilin where increased planted area and yield resulted in an 10% increase in output. .