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November 4, 2020

Worrisome Long Range Forecast for Southern Brazil

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

There is a general correlation between La Nina and the weather in southern Brazil and that might be even more important this year with a strengthening La Nina. When there is a moderate La Nina, the weather in southern Brazil tends to be dryer than normal with temperatures hotter than normal. That would be especially worrisome for farmers in the southern states of Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, which are already suffering from a severe rainfall shortage.

The State of Santa Catarina - In western Santa Catarina, the October rainfall was about 40 mm (1.6 inches) compared to the average of 180 to 200 mm for the month (7.2 to 8.0 inches). In fact, the rainfall deficit for 2020 thus far in western Santa Catarina is about 700 mm (28 inches). The region never has really recovered from the drought that started last growing season.

Many rural residents are being forced to truck-in water for their livestock and personal consumption. In the city of Chapeco, which is the largest city in western Santa Catarina, they only received 7% of their normal October rainfall and the mayor of the city has declared a state of emergency. They have also established an emergency fund for low interest loans for farmers to drill wells and build water storage units.

Needless to say, the dry conditions have resulted in slow planting of the corn and soybeans and the corn that has been planted is already exhibiting moisture stress. According to the Agricultural and Livestock Federation of Santa Catarina (FAESC), the recent rains helped germination and herbicide applications, but they were insufficient to guarantee continued crop development and pasture improvement. The rainfall barely penetrated the top few inches of soil and soybean and corn planting remains delayed.

Unfortunately, meteorologists for the state of Santa Catarina are forecasting dryer than normal weather for November, December, and January with hotter than normal temperatures.

The State of Rio Grande do Sul - The situation in the state of Rio Grande do Sul is very similar. The soybeans in the state are 7% planted compared to 11% last year and 12% average. This represents an advance of only 2% for the week. Up until last week, the soybean planting was about normal, but it is now slower than normal and planting has stopped in many areas due to dry conditions.

The full-season corn is 72% planted compared to 74% last year and 70% average. This represents an advance of only 2% for the week. In the dryer areas farmers are already worried about lower corn yields especially for the early planted corn that is starting to pollinate. The corn is already exhibiting moisture stress in many areas and unfortunately, there is not much rain in the near term forecast and the long term forecast is for dryer than normal weather for November, December, and January.