Warm weather leaves EU crops vulnerable to frost: MARS

20 Feb 2018 | Tom Houghton

Mild weather over the course of winter has aided the development of the EU’s cereal crop but has left it vulnerable to a future cold weather shock, the European Commission’s crop monitoring unit said Monday.

“Low-temperature acclimatisation remains weak in large parts of Europe,” MARS wrote in their monthly update, pointing to a lack of hardening seen in much of the continent’s grain crops.

Hardening – the process by which cereals protect themselves from low temperatures – has only been seen in some parts of central and northern Europe, leaving the potential for significant damage should temperatures plummet.

South Eastern Europe was seen to be particularly at risk, with cereal crops in Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and the Balkans experiencing warm weather since early December and having little chance to develop cold weather resistance.

However, MARS said there is no expectation of frost-related damage before the end of February, while warm weather has meant only minor frost damage seen affecting crops in in southern Ukraine and parts of Russia.