Chinese Winter Crops Seen With Enough Soil Moisture by USDA Unit

China’s winter-wheat and rapeseed crops have mostly adequate soil moisture for development in main growing regions, a U.S. Department of Agriculture unit said.

Conditions on the North China Plain are generally favorable, the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service wrote in an online report dated April 16. Wheat and rapeseed development was about a week to 10 days ahead of usual at the end of March after above-normal temperatures last month combined with sufficient soil moisture, the report showed.

China is the world’s biggest wheat grower and consumer, with a crop estimated by the USDA at 120.6 million metric tons in the 2012-13 season, or 18 percent of world production. That compares with projected consumption of 120 million tons. The Asian nation is the second-largest rapeseed consumer after the European Union.

“April is a critical month in China for both winter crops and spring planting,” the FAS wrote. “The country is currently experiencing several different weather situations that may have a significant impact on crop yields.”

In northeastern China, unusually cool and wet weather delayed the start of the season, according to the FAS. Planting there normally starts in the middle of April to peak in early May, based on the report.

Drought lowered water levels in Yunnan and other provinces in the southwest, meaning some crops there could not be planted or are under stress, according to the report.

“Winter-wheat and rapeseed yields are expected to decline in the region due to stress during the budding/flowering stage, and the spring planting of early rice, corn and potatoes had been delayed by a serious lack of water for irrigation,” the USDA unit wrote.

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