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August 2017 CropWatch bulletin (Vol. 17, No. 3)

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August 2017 CropWatch bulletin. The August 2017 CropWatch bulletin reports on agroclimatic conditions and the condition of crops that were growing or harvested between April and July this year. CropWatch analyses are done on various scales (particularly including 148 sub-national regions for 31key countries), with special attention paid to the major worldwide producers of maize, rice, wheat, and soybean. The bulletin also describes current crop condition and prospects in China-nationwide and by region-and presents an updated estimate for global and national production of crops to be harvested throughout 2017. The focus section highlights the dire situation in the Horn of Africa and presents an update on El Niño events.
Key messages from the report:


This CropWatch bulletin summarizes global crop condition developments and agroclimatic factors from April 1 to July 31, 2017. Chapters 1 through 4 zoom in from a global overview of agroclimatic indicators (Chapter 1), to detailed descriptions of crop and environmental conditions in large production zones (Chapter 2), to individual country analyses covering 30 major producers and exporters (Chapter 3) and China (Chapter 4). A special focus section is included in Chapter 5, covering this time revised CropWatch food production estimates, disaster events, the situation in the Horn of Africa, and an update on El Niño. This first part of the report includes the cover, table of contents, abbreviations, and a short overview of the different sections of the bulletin.

Chapter 1. Global agroclimatic patterns

Chapter 1 describes the CropWatch agroclimatic indicators for rainfall (RAIN), temperature (TEMP), and radiation (RADPAR), along with the agronomic indicator for potential biomass (BIOMSS) for sixty-five global Mapping and Reporting Units (MRU). Indicator values for all MRUs are provided in Annex A.

Chapter 2. Crop and environmental conditions in major production zones

Chapter 2 presents the same indicators—RAIN, TEMP, RADPAR, and BIOMSS—used in Chapter 1 and combines them with agronomic indicators—cropped arable land fraction (CALF), maximum vegetation condition index (VCIx), and minimum vegetation health index (VHIn)—to describe crop and environmental conditions in six global major production zones (MPZ): West Africa, North America, South America, South and southeast Asia, Western Europe, and Central Europe to western Russia. (See also Annex C for more information about these zones.)

Chapter 3. Main producing and exporting countries

Building on the global patterns presented in previous chapters, this chapter assesses the situation of crops in 30 key countries that represent the global major producers and exporters or otherwise are of global or CropWatch relevance. First, the overview section (3.1) pays attention to all countries worldwide, to provide some spatial and thematic detail to the overall features described in section 1.1. In section 3.2, more detail is provided for each of the CropWatch monitored countries, including analyses by sub-national areas. For each country, maps are included illustrating NDVI-based crop condition development graphs, maximum VCI, and spatial NDVI patterns with associated NDVI profiles. Additional information about indicators per country is provided in Annex A, while Annex B provides 2017 production estimates for Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, and the United States.

Chapter 4. China

After a brief overview of the agroclimatic and agronomic conditions in China over the reporting period (section 4.1), Chapter 4 presents an updated estimate of national winter crop production (4.2) and describes the situation by region, focusing on the seven most productive agro-ecological regions of the east and south: Northeast China, Inner Mongolia, Huanghuaihai, Loess region, Lower Yangtze, Southwest China, and Southern China (4.3). Section 4.4 presents the results of ongoing pests and diseases monitoring, while sections 4.5 and 4.6 describe trade prospects (import/export) of major crops (4.5) and an updated outlook for domestic prices of maize, rice, wheat and soybean (4.6). Additional information on the agroclimatic indicators for agriculturally important Chinese provinces are listed in table A.11 in Annex A.

Chapter 5. Focus and perspectives

Building on the CropWatch analyses presented in chapters 1 through 4, this chapter presents revised CropWatch food production estimates for 2017 (section 5.1), as well as sections on recent disaster events (5.2), the situation in the Horn of Africa (5.3), and an update on El Niño (5.4).

Annex A. Agroclimatic indicators

Tables in this Annex provide additional information about the agroclimatic indicators—RAIN, TEMP, and RADPAR—as well as BIOMSS for the various CropWatch spatial units. Those units include the Monitoring and Reporting Units (MRU); the thirty-one main producing and exporting countries; and regions or provinces within large countries—Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Kazakhstan, Russia, and the United States; and China.

Annex B. 2017 Production estimates

Annex B includes tables with 2017 CropWatch production estimates for Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, and the United States.

Annex C. Quick reference guide to CropWatch indicators, spatial units and methodologies

Annex C presents a brief overview of the CropWatch indicators and spatial units (including the MRUs, MPZs, and countries, 148 sub-national regions for the 31 keycountries), along with a description of the CropWatch production estimation methodology and methodology to determine the severity of the occurrence.
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