Romanian Corn Seen Facing Heat and Drought Stress Next Week

Crops in southern Romania, the country’s main corn-growing area, face heat and drought stress next week as temperatures climb above 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit), the national weather office forecast.

Temperatures above crop-resistance thresholds of 30 to 32 degrees Celsius combined with local soil-moisture deficits will cause temporary wilting and yellowing or premature drying of lower leaves, the National Meteorological Administration wrote in an agricultural-weather bulletin for July 25-31.

“The period will be characterized by warmer-than-usual air temperatures almost everywhere in the country’s agricultural areas,” the weather office wrote. “Toward the end of the period, the weather will be hot, especially in lowland areas.”

Romania is typically the European Union’s second-largest corn grower behind France. This year’s corn harvest is forecast to climb to 9.15 million metric tons from 5.45 million tons in 2012, when yields were hurt by a July heat wave, according to EU grain-trading lobby Coceral.

Corn for November delivery traded on NYSE Liffe in Paris, the EU benchmark, fell 20 percent this year. The grain for December delivery slid the same amount in Chicago trading amid an outlook for a record harvest in the U.S., the biggest grower.

Romania’s corn crop is 10 percent to fully at the stage of flowering and pollination, depending on the region, according to the weather office.

Heat combined with drought stress during corn flowering and pollination can cut yields by as much as 13 percent a day, according to the U.S. National Corn Handbook published by Purdue University. When daily maximum temperatures rise above 35 degrees Celsius, stress occurs regardless of soil moisture.

Moderate to extreme drought will occur locally in the regions of Dobrogea, eastern and northern Muntenia, Banat, Crisana and southern Moldavia, the weather office forecast. The regions account for more than 60 percent of Romania’s corn crop, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show.

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