Agricultural Drought Monitoring System. How much money is there for drought relief?

System Monitoringu Suszy Rolniczej

Agricultural drought is a consequence of prolonged meteorological drought, i.e. a situation in which the lack of precipitation has a direct impact on soil conditions, the condition of crops grown and the conduct of normal agricultural management. Agricultural drought is also often referred to as soil drought.

Agricultural drought in law

As defined in the Law of July 7, 2005. On insurance of agricultural crops and livestock (Journal of Laws 2019, item 477), drought means damage caused by the occurrence of climatic water balance below the accepted value for individual crop species and soils in any six-decade period from March 21 to September 30 of a given year. These values and the list of crops are specified in a decree of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development dated April 11, 2019. On the values of climatic water balance for individual crop species and soils (Journal of Laws 2019, item 739).

SMSR – Agricultural Drought Monitoring System.

The Institute of Cultivation, Fertilization and Soil Science-State Research Institute (IUNG-PIB) operates the Agricultural Drought Monitoring System, whose task is to indicate areas where drought losses have occurred in crops included in the aforementioned law.

Principles of operation of the model for determining agricultural drought SMSR

The Agricultural Drought Monitoring System determines the meteorological conditions causing drought by means of the climatic water balance (KBW). It expresses the difference between precipitation and potential evapotranspiration.

Atmospheric precipitation is measured at weather stations, while the value of potential evapotranspiration (which roughly expresses the ability to evaporate water from a well-humidified lawn) is calculated using Penman’s method.

According to IUNG-PIB, in response to our question, two factors are taken into account when designating areas with agricultural drought for specific crops:

  • weather conditions
  • Soil susceptibility to drought.

The main meteorological elements determining the occurrence of drought are:

  • precipitation,
  • air temperature,
  • humidity,
  • sunshine,
  • wind speed.

Drought-inducing meteorological conditions are determined using KBW. It represents the difference between precipitation (water revenue) and potential evapotranspiration (water outflow):



P – precipitation, mm;

ETP – evapotranspiration, mm.

The value of potential evapotranspiration can be calculated based on an algorithm developed by IUNG-PIB:

ETP= 161 + 19.57 d – 152.7 ln d + 0.0004034 h2 + 0.00186(t + 5)3 + 0.004192 (100 – f)2 + 0.0003681 v ( 100 – f)2.5


d – length of day, h;

h – sunshine, h;

t – average air temperature, °C;

f – relative humidity, hr. 13:00, %;

v – average wind speed, m/s.

Precipitation is the primary element measured at weather stations. The precipitation map is made using data from more than 1,000 weather stations and posts. In order to increase the accuracy of determining the precipitation field, information from ground-based meteorological radars is being incorporated into the System. The radar data of the POLRAD network is provided by the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management-State Research Institute. The information generated by ground-based meteorological radars makes it possible to significantly detail the precipitation field for the entire country (thanks to a resolution of 500 m x 500 km).

Digital soil maps are used to determine the vulnerability of soils to drought.

Information on the occurrence of agricultural drought – in the form of decadal reports – is provided by IUNG-PIB to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and published on the website.

For more information on SMSR, visit:

Yields under drought conditions – values estimated by farmers and IUNG-PIB

According to IUNG-PIB, in response to our inquiries, discrepancies between yield assessments indicated by farmers and IUNG-PIB are included in the publication Agricultural Drought Monitoring System in Poland-Farmers’ Assessments vs. Monitoring Results[1].

Agricultural drought based on the DISS satellite index

The Remote Sensing Center of the Institute of Geodesy and Cartography has developed a system for monitoring the growth conditions of crops, which determines their condition using the DISS index. This indicator, with a spatial resolution of 1 km2, is based on the use of Terra MODIS satellite imagery.

DISS, or Drought Identification Satellite System, is a function of the Temperature Condition Index(TCI) and a meteorological index that characterizes climatic conditions in the Polish area (HTC – Hydrothermal Coefficient). It is generated from the end of March, in successive eight-day periods of the crop growing season.

According to information published by IGiK, the maps and data are made available through the website and map service Agricultural Drought 2020 – 2022 ( are for illustrative purposes only – they cannot be treated as an official document.

For more information on satellite monitoring of agricultural drought, visit the website of the Institute of Geodesy and Cartography.

Current agricultural drought situation

Based on information published by IUNG-PIB, from May 21 to July 20, 2023, the average value of the Climatic Water Balance (KBW), on the basis of which the drought risk assessment is made, was negative. It amounted to -178 mm and decreased by 18 mm compared to the previous period, i.e. May 11 to July 10 this year.

The water deficit for crops has increased and occurred throughout the country. Thus, in the aforementioned period , an agricultural drought was found on Polish territory .

Nevertheless, the largest water deficit, i.e. Between -240 and -269 mm were recorded in the eastern part of the Wielkopolska Lakeland, the Chelmno-Dobrzyn Lake District and the Wielkopolska Lowlands.

Very high water shortage, i.e. Between -210 and -239 mm were recorded in the Pomeranian Lake District, the Żuławy region, the western part of the Greater Poland Lake District, and the western and southern parts of the Mazovian Lowlands. On the other hand, to the east of the aforementioned. area the deficit ranged from -160 to-209 mm.

In the rest of the country, water shortages ranged from 0 to -160 mm.

During the period from May 21 to July 20, 2023, sagricultural drought occurred in all monitored crops, causing yields to be reduced by at least 20% on a municipal scale compared to yields obtained under average multi-year weather conditions.

Government in the state budget for drought aid for 2024. has set aside nearly PLN 1.5 billion.

Information on the extent of the drought and the crops affected is available on the SMSR website.

[1] Agricultural Drought Monitoring System in Poland-Farmers’ Assessments vs. Monitoring Results (2021) available at: