Northwest Africa Grain Conditions Appear Favorable Despite Dry Winter
Current crop conditions in the cereal growing region of Northwest Africa (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia), appear to be good despite a period of dryness during December, January, and February. In this semi-arid region rainfall is the most critical yield determinant. Precipitation during the 2013/14 crop season has been mostly favorable. The periods at planting (October and November), and at green-up (March and April), are the most important times for significant rainfall. While also beneficial, winter precipitation however, is not as critical as rain received during these other stages of plant growth. Autumn 2012 rainfall was early (starting in September), frequent, and above average for most of the region. As of mid-March, rainfall has again ticked up, raising expectations of a bumper crop across the three-nation region. Dry-land wheat and barley comprise the vast majority (over 90 percent) of grains in Northwest Africa. USDA will publish its first estimate of the 2013/14 Northwest Africa grain production on May 10, 2013.