Crop Explorer - Commodity Intelligence Reports - Korea

Jul 27 2021 | North Korea 2021/22 Seasonal Crop Outlook
In North Korea, the 2021 season summer crop planting is complete with the optimal planting period from April through May (Figure 1). Most crops are in early growth stages as of mid-July. The rainy season normally starts in April and about 80 percent of the annual precipitation on average occurs between July and September. The 2021 growing season began with beneficial starting soil moisture conditions and the seasonal rainfall outlook indicates close to average crop yield expectations. The main season crops include rice and corn, accounting for almost 90 percent of the total crop output, plus small quantities of soybeans, potatoes, millet, and sorghum (Figure 2). Rice is predominantly produced in the western provinces of South Hwanghae (28%, Hwanghae-namdo), North Pyongan (22%, P’yongan-bukto), South Pyongan (20%, P’yongan-namdo), and South Hamgyong (11%, Hamgyong-namdo). The southern, southwestern, and western provinces are considered the “cereal bowl regions” (Figure 3). In recent years potatoes have emerged as a staple crop next to rice and corn, contributing about 8 percent to the annual output of food crops.Conversely, wheat and barley are mainly winter crops with a small amount planted in early spring; wheat and barley contribute approximately 2 percent to total annual food production.

USDA forecasts North Korea corn production at 2.25 million metric tons (mmt), 1 percent above the 5-year average (Figure 1). Corn yield is forecast at 4.13 metric tons per hectare (mt/ha), unchanged from last year and 1 percent above the 5-year average. Rice yield is forecast at 4.18 mt/ha, unchanged from last year and 17 percent below the 5-year average. Rice rough production is forecast at 2.09 million metric tons (Figure 2).

Jul 22 2019 | North Korea: Early and Mid-Season Dryness Increases Food Productivity Concerns
In North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, DPRK) the early part of the 2019/20 season (April, May, and June) has been characterized by below-average rainfall, poor irrigation water availability, and unfavorable, drier-than-normal conditions across the major growing regions. Summer is the main cropping season and the main agricultural crops are corn, rice, potatoes, soybeans, millet, sorghum, and sweet potatoes. Summer crops are typically planted in March through June and harvested between July and October. The optimum planting window for the major food security crop, rice, is May through June.

Aug 14 2017 | North Korea: Warning Signs of Drought for the Rice Crop
Rice is one of the major staple foods in North Korea. Rice paddies account for the majority of arable land, especially in the eastern provinces. Rice production is concentrated in the regions of North Pyongyang, South Pyongyang, and South Hwanghae. The major rice growing season is May through October, and the optimum sowing window is during May and June. The analysis of a variety of crop-condition indicators derived from remote sensing (including precipitation, drought monitors, and vegetation indices), suggests that North Korea is experiencing early-season drought. Due to the lack of reliable agricultural data from North Korea, USDA relies on these remote-sensing tools to qualitatively monitor crop conditions and assess the impact of crop stress for North Korea’s crops. USDA estimates 2017/18 North Korea rice production at 1.6 million metric tons (milled basis).

Jul 20 2015 | Drought Cuts Rice Paddy Area in North Korea
The North Korean News Agency (KCNA) has reported that drought conditions during the spring 2015 planting season has resulted in less rice sown, along with stressful growing conditions for newly planted rice and other summer crops such as corn and soybeans. Statistics from the National Coordinating Committee indicated that 441,500 hectares of rice had been planted as of June 8, about 80 percent of the 543,500 hectares originally planned. In North and South Hwanghae provinces, which account for about one third of North Korea’s total rice area, plantings were down 80 percent and 58 percent, respectively. USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, using satellite imagery, has confirmed that transplanted rice area is rice area is significantly less than last year in these two provinces.

Mar 10 2015 | Favorable Weather in North Korea for Winter Crops
The weather has been mostly favorable for North Korea’s winter crops (mainly wheat), which were planted in October 2014 and will be harvested in May/June 2015. The crops benefitted from relatively warm and wet weather in November and went into dormancy on schedule in December. January is usually the coldest and driest month of the year in North Korea, but the weather last month was warmer than normal and there was widespread light to moderate snowfall. The recent snowfall kept soil moisture at near-normal levels and offered the dormant crop some protection against freezing temperatures. However, if this mild temperature pattern continues through February, it could cause winter crops to emerge from dormancy prematurely and increase their vulnerability to winterkill.

Jul 29 2013 | Torrential Rainfall Causes Flooding in North Korea
Torrential rainfall in the western and central part of North Korea has killed up to 24 people and left tens of thousands homeless, the United Nations (UN) reported on Thursday, July 25. Flooding was reported in the provinces of North and South Pyongan, South Hamyong, North Hwanghae and Kangwon. The UN said that the provinces of North and South Pyongyang are "particularly severely affected." It added that about 10,000 hectares of farmland has been inundated and around 1,000 hectares of crops have been destroyed. The floods also washed away stocks of potatoes from the recent harvest.

Nov 22 2005 | North Korea Grain Situation for 2005/06
The USDA estimates North Korea total grain production (including corn, milled rice, wheat, and barley) at 3.64 million tons, up 150,000 tons or 4 percent from last year and the largest crop since 1994/95. The total output is comprised chiefly of nearly equal parts corn and rice, although the proportion of corn has dropped over the past 15 years due to a decline in area.

Aug 11 2000 | North Korea Grain Situation
North Korea grain production (corn, milled rice, wheat and barley) for 2000/01 is estimated at 2.9 million tons, down 16 percent from last year due to lower planted area and yield. Area estimates for corn, rice, and wheat were revised downward in August based on information from the latest UN assessment (June 2000), while a serious summer drought in the main grain-producing regions of the country had a major impact on yields.

Dec 20 2000 | North Korea Grain Update - December 2000
Current prospects for the 2001/02 winter crops are fair to poor. The North Korea government has strongly promoted the double-cropping of winter wheat and barley since 1999, but it is unknown if farmers had the seeds and fertilizer needed to expand area this year. Conditions were very dry at planting (late-September to mid-October), which may have prevented good germination and tillering before the crop entered dormancy. Winters in North Korea are very cold and the risk of winterkill can be high if there is insufficient snowcover to protect the crop. North Korea's winter crops are highly dependent on timely spring rainfall to provide enough moisture for pollination and grain-fill. The first USDA production estimate for North Korea's 2001/02 winter crops will be released in May 2001.

May 2 2001 | North Korea: Dry Spring Weather Threatens 2001/02 Crops
The weather was unfavorably dry from late September through mid-October 2000, the planting season for North Korea's 2001/02 winter crops. Temperatures and precipitation in November and December 2000 were close to normal, but the weather in January 2001 was unusually severe. Temperatures dropped to the lowest level since 1994 (-37 C.) and the average monthly temperature for January was the lowest since 1949. In addition, very heavy snow (400 to 500 percent above normal) was recorded in many areas. Although a burden on the population, the snow provided needed moisture and may have protected winter crops from the extreme cold. The weather turned milder in February, with normal to above-normal temperatures and moderate precipitation creating favorable conditions for emerging winter wheat and boosting moisture for spring planting. Since mid-March, however, the weather in North Korea has been unseasonably warm and dry. A spring drought has developed which shows no sign of ending soon.

Jun 4 2001 | North Korea: Dry Weather Continues to Impact Spring and Summer Crops
The weather in North Korea has been abnormally warm and dry since mid-March, particularly in the southwest, a major grain production region. The lack of rainfall and low soil moisture reportedly stressed rain-fed winter crops (wheat and barley), and delayed or prevented the planting of potatoes, spring wheat, and corn. Rice transplanting started in May and will continue through June. Wells and reservoirs were greatly depleted by drought during 2000, and water for irrigation may be insufficient this summer unless replenishing rains arrive soon.

Aug 3 2001 | Korean Peninsula - Current Crop Situation
North and South Korea experienced one of the hottest and driest spring seasons (March 21 to June 21) on record this year. Press reports, government announcements, and observations from United Nations (UN) and non-governmental sources said the drought sharply reduced winter crop yields and delayed the planting and germination of summer crops such as corn, rice, and vegetables, by several weeks. Some fields had to be replanted more than once. Crop emergence was poor in many areas. Reservoirs had already been depleted by below-normal rainfall last year. Short supplies of irrigation water increased the effect of the drought.

Sep 27 2001 | North Korea Update - Improved Weather for 2001/02 Summer Crops
The weather in North Korea was unusually hot and dry during the 2001/02 summer crop planting season (April through June). This resulted in planting and germination delays, reduced planted area, poor emergence, and irrigation problems in many areas. However, widespread moderate to heavy rainfall from July through mid-August boosted moisture supplies and improved corn and rice yield prospects. Near- to below-normal rainfall in August and early September also proved favorable for summer crop maturation and harvest. Corn harvesting began in August, while rice harvesting will begin in September and continue through October. Additional rainfall in October will be needed to provide adequate moisture for the 2002 winter crops (wheat and barley), which are being planted now.

Apr 10 2002 | North Korea: Mild Winter, Dry Spring Could Affect 2002/03 Crops
The winter of 2001/02 in North Korea has been characterized by above-normal temperatures and light precipitation, similar to the situation in northern China. The 2002/03 winter wheat and barley crops, planted in fall 2001, broke dormancy earlier than normal. Planting preparations for the 2002/03 summer crops, including potatoes, corn, other grain and oilseeds, and rice, will soon be under way. Seasonal precipitation in western North Korea has been close to normal and soil moisture levels are fair to good, but eastern North Korea has been very dry since November and soil moisture is low. As temperatures continue to rise, the need for additional rainfall to support normal crop development will increase. In 2001/02, North Korea produced an estimated 1.35 million tons of rice (milled basis), 1.4 million tons of corn, and 100,000 tons of wheat, much less than domestic demand. The main reason for the poor crop was a serious spring/early summer drought that lowered planted area and yield. USDA will make its initial area and production estimates for North Korea's 2002/03 wheat and corn crops in May, and the first rice area and production estimate will be released in July.

Jun 6 2002 | North Korea Update
Crop conditions in North Korea are much better than last year, which featured one of coldest winters on record followed by extreme drought in the spring and early summer. Above-normal rainfall in April and near-normal rainfall in May benefited winter wheat and barley development and summer crop planting in North Korea. Rainfall has tapered off in recent weeks and soil moisture levels are declining, but the there is no immediate danger of drought. A timely start to the rainy season (mid to late June) will determine if North Korea will have normal summer crop yields in 2002.

Jun 20 2003 | North and South Korea: Situation Update, June 2003
Above-normal rainfall since March provided favorable moisture for 2003/04 winter crops and newly-planted summer crops in North and South Korea. Rainfall amounts have been similar to last year and much higher than 2001, when the Korean peninsula suffered from a severe spring drought. Warm temperatures spurred the growth of winter crops and aided summer crop planting and germination. Recent showers have improved moisture conditions in the North and maintained high moisture levels in the South. Crop prospects are currently favorable.

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