Market News & Headlines >> Little Frost Damage to European Crops so far

Frost damage to crops is relatively low in Europe despite a cold spell which hit the continent earlier this month, although parts of the southeastern European Union and Scandinavia could suffer some damage, the EU's crop monitoring unit, MARS, said on Monday in a monthly report. 

"Frost damages have been relatively minor so far, and, in accordance with the latest weather forecast, no further frost-kill damages are expected between now and the end of January," MARS said. 

Weather across much of central and Eastern Europe has been significantly colder than usual in recent weeks, raising concerns over the impact on grain crops. The first half of January was among the coldest on MARS' records dating from 1975 in southeastern Europe, Hungary and Slovakia, it said. 

Frost tolerance in many countries has prevented major winterkill, MARS said. "Our recent model simulations indicate a substantial increase in the frost tolerance of winter cereals in central Europe and the Black Sea region due to the colder-than usual weather conditions in January so far.” 

However, the agency noted an intense cold spell that hit central Europe in the Jan. 6-11 period, combined with weak snowfall in some regions, resulted in frost damage in parts of Hungary, Slovakia, southern Sweden, Denmark and Romania. Localized frost damage could also have occurred in Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany but snow cover provided adequate protection for winter wheat in Belarus and Ukraine. 

In contrast, winter cereals in southern and Western Europe are generally not hardened, MARS said. Winter crops in the Mediterranean region, the western half of France, the UK, Denmark and in the Benelux countries (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) have acquired little low-temperature tolerance, due to mild conditions there so far this winter, MARS said. “These regions run the highest risk of frost-kill damage in the event of severe frost in the topsoil,” the agency said.  

Frost tolerance is “slight to moderate” in northeastern France, northern and central Germany, southern Sweden, coastal Poland, central Hungary and southern Bulgaria, as well as in some areas of southern Russia, MARS said.