Additional rainfall further eased dryness concerns in central growing areas and maintained favourable soil moisture in the south.
An early-week storm system and its attendant cold front produced moderate to heavy rain and wet snow (5-50 mm liquid equivalent) over most of the region’s major crop areas.
The moisture reduced lingering long-term precipitation deficits from northern Ukraine into west-central Russia, where a dry start to the spring coupled with autumn drought had depleted soil moisture and raised concerns over conditions for winter wheat.
In light of the recent wet weather in these locales, prospects for winter wheat, spring grains, and summer crops have improved considerably over the past several weeks.
In major winter wheat areas of southern Russia, 15 to 25 mm of rain (locally more) sustained favourable soil moisture as the crop approaches the heading stage of development.
However, cooler weather (2-5°C below normal) slowed crop growth rates, though night-time readings in the more advanced southern growing areas (-2 to 0°C) were above the threshold for freeze damage to wheat.
Despite being overall favourable for crop prospects, the wet conditions in Russia and Ukraine slowed corn and sunflower planting until the end of the period, when sunny skies allowed fieldwork to resume.