The May precipitation was below average compared to the long-term average (LTA) of 2001-2016 in the entire crop-growing governorate of Duhok, large parts of Diyala as well as in pockets of most other governorates of Iraq. However, larger areas of the country received average to above average rainfall in May, which could impact grazing areas as well as seasonal crop production positively. Compared to May last year, amounts of rain were lower in Duhok, parts of Salah al-Din, Diyala and Anbar governorates and in pockets of most other governorates.
The agricultural stress index (ASI) analysis for May 2017 shows that harvesting of winter crops (wheat and barley) was nearly finished in all governorates. The exceptions to this are the northern governorates of Duhok, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah, where harvests were completed partially. The winter crops were planted from November through January. Throughout the crop growing season, most notable moisture stress was experienced in parts of cropland areas of Ninewa and Anbar governorates. While the precipitation in January to February was generally below the monthly LTA, rainfall performance in March to April was good in most cropland areas of the country. Field reports indicated that high precipitation in March coupled with lower temperatures has affected ripening process of the crops in Erbil governorate, which eventually resulted in poor cereal yields. Apart from climatic conditions, such factors as availability and access to agricultural inputs as well as on-going conflict and population displacement in major cereal producing governorate of Ninewa are likely to result in an overall reduced winter crop outputs in the country.
Please note that since the ASI is based on remotely sensed data only, there is no confirmation on what crops have been planted.