This publication assesses skill and reliability in predicting agro-climate indicators, co-designed with and for European wheat farmers. Seasonal climate forecasts are a key component of sectoral climate services. The main findings show how seasonal climate forecast provides useful information for decision-making processes in the European winter wheat-producing sector. Flowering time can be reliably predicted already at the beginning of the growing season in central and eastern Europe, thus supporting effective variety selection and timely planning of agro-management practices.
The predictability of climate events relevant for winter wheat production is strongly dependent on the forecast initialization time as well as the nature of the event being predicted. Overall, regionally skillful and reliable predictions of drought events during the sensitive periods of wheat flowering and grain filling can be made already at the end of winter. On the contrary, predicting excessive wetness seems to be very challenging as no or very limited skill is estimated during the entire wheat growing season. Other approaches, e.g., linked to the use of large-scale atmospheric patterns, should be identified to enhance the predictability of those harmful events.