Average daily temperature for winter 2020-21 in Clemency (red) compared to reference period (blue); Credit: ASTA

The ASTA weather bulletin has revealed that a mild and rainy winter 2020-21 yielded satisfactory agricultural crops in Luxembourg.

At the end of the 2020/21 meteorological winter, the State Meteorological Service of the ASTA (Administration des services techniques de l'agriculture) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development carried out its weather analysis for the period from 1 December 2020 to 28 February 2021, taking into account the consequences for agriculture.

The analysis looked at the network of 32 automatic weather stations across the Grand Duchy. Once again, this year's weather data was compared with the averages of the reference period 1981-2010 with a special focus on the following four representative stations: Asselborn (north), Clemency (south-west), Remich (Mosel) and Grevenmacher (Mosel).

Overall, the winter of 2020/21 was milder than usual across the country (+ 1.4 °C) and it rained above average in almost all of the country. A total of 29 days with snow cover were recorded in Reuler in northern Luxembourg between the end of December and January. In mid-February, there was a cold spell until temperatures rose to spring-like values ​​at the end of the month. The mild weather in December benefited almost all winter crops, with the exception of some rapeseed stocks.

December: Mild and wet with snow at the end of the year 

The first half of December was milder than average and rainy, but temperatures fell back to the values ​​of the reference period just in time for the Christmas holidays. On 27 December 2020, storm depression "Hermione" brought snow to the north in particular until the end of the year. In Reuler, on 31 December 2020, a maximum snow depth of 14.0 cm was measured.

January: Snow throughout the country, then a thaw at the end of the month

The north of the country was covered with snow for most of January; in Reuler, snow reached a maximum height of 13.6 cm on 1 January 2021. On 8 January, the whole country was covered in snow. Five days of snow were recorded in Grevenmacher, with a maximum height of 2.5 cm on 8 January. While temperatures were cold on average in the first half of January, they fell below freezing on 16 January. Thereafter, the thaw prevailed until the end of the month.

February: Cold snap on Valentine's weekend, then start of spring

February 2021 started with relatively mild temperatures. In the second week, a polar cold air mass made for a very cold Valentine's weekend. From 9 to 12 February, AgriMeteo weather stations recorded ice days with minus temperatures across the country. In the third week, temperatures rose to spring-like values, with a maximum of 18.4 °C recorded in Roeser in southern Luxembourg. Precipitation in February remained below the values ​​of the reference period, especially in the north.

Satisfactory winter crops 

The mild weather in December 2020 benefited the winter crops. The above-average rainfall caused far less damage than last year, but the load-bearing capacity of the soil for the upcoming field work was reduced. In February 2021, the low temperatures without a protective cover of snow led to minor winter losses for almost all crops. Overall, the end of the meteorological winter yielded satisfactory winter crops, with the exception of some rapeseed stocks.