Nov 13, 2020

Dry Weather in Rio Grande do Sul Impacting Early Summer Crops

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

Farmers in the state of Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil suffered a severe drought during the 2019/20 growing season and it looks like the drought may continue into the 2020/21 growing season as well. Between January and March of this year, 386 municipalities in the state declared a state of emergency due to the drought and the 2019/20 summer crops such as soybeans, corn, tobacco, and diary operations were severely impacted.

During the winter months, the state did receive some rain, but now that summer has returned, it looks like the drought has returned as well. The dry weather is being attributed to a strengthening La Nina that is already moderate-to-borderline strong. La Nina is generally associated with dryer than normal weather in southern Brazil and Argentina and the forecast is for below normal rainfall for at least November and December.

The month of October was hot and dry and November is starting off the same way. There have already been 20 municipalities in the state declare a state of emergency with many more expected. Local officials have already started trucking water to rural areas for livestock and human consumption.

Corn is the crop most impacted thus far by the dry weather. The full-season corn in the state is 73% planted and farmers are waiting for additional rainfall to continue planting. The corn that has already been planted is 3% germinating, 96% in vegetative development, and 1% maturing. The earlier planted corn is in the critical reproductive phase with farmers reporting few ears and losses already estimated at 20% to 30% and growing.

If the dry weather persists, some of the intended late planted corn may be switched to soybeans instead. The soybeans in the state were 5% planted by the end of October and planting is proceeding slowly due to dry conditions. November is generally the main month for soybean planting in Rio Grande do Sul.