PARIS: The negative impact from cold snaps in January and February is expected to be limited because most of the affected areas were protected by snow cover, the European Union’s crop monitoring service MARS said on Monday.
There have been three cold spells in Europe since the beginning of January, with the third being the most pronounced and affecting the largest area, it said in a report.
Some frost damage is expected to have occurred in western Germany, eastern France, Hungary, southeastern Europe and Turkey in areas without significant snow cover, though the level of damage is expected to be minor, it said.
“Frost tolerance was poorly developed in these areas due to the prevailing warmer than usual conditions preceding the cold spell,” MARS said.
Further frost damage could occur in the coming 10 days, owing to a severe cold spell forecast in eastern Europe, it said.
Over the past month, colder than usual conditions were observed in many parts of central and northern Europe, with minimum temperatures among the lowest of the past 50 years in several regions, the report said.
In contrast, average temperatures in most parts of southern Europe were about 2 degrees Celsius above the long-term average for the full reporting period, MARS said.
In major parts of eastern and northern Europe, winter cereals are fully hardened. In central Europe they are almost fully hardened.
So-called winter crops typically gain hardiness to withstand freezing conditions before resuming their growth in spring. Crops in western Germany, the Benelux countries and eastern France are only partially hardened while those in the rest of western Europe are not hardened.
Additionally, rainfall was above average in most parts of Europe, with the highest anomalies in Italy, the Balkan region, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece, where abundant rainfall continued.