Dec 03, 2021

Dryness Increasing in Rio Grande do Sul in Southern Brazil

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

Farmers in Brazil's southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul are becoming more concerned about the recent dryness and a forecast calling for scant rainfall over the next two weeks. The state received less-than-normal rainfall during the month of November, so the state was already running a moisture deficit as it entered December.

According to data from the Soybean Producers Association of Rio Grande do Sul (Aprosoja/RS), farmers in the state have planted 92% of their 2021/22 soybeans, but if the dry forecast verifies, there could be problems with germination and a significant percentage of the crop may have to be replanted once there is adequate soil moisture.

The dryer-than-normal conditions in southern Brazil are typical when a La Nina is present in the Pacific Ocean. Most of southern Brazil has recently turned dryer, but the state of Rio Grande do Sul has been most impacted.

There is the potential for lower soybean yields in the state, but agronomists indicate that it is too early in the growing season to calculate actual losses. That is not the case for the corn in the state that has already been negatively impacted. Some areas of the state had been dry for as much as 40 days before they received rain last weekend and the dryness hit the corn as it was pollinating and starting to fill grain.

A study released by 20 cooperatives in the state estimates that their member's corn yields have been reduced by an average of 29% with isolated areas recording loses of as much as 80%.

Even farmers with irrigation capabilities have not been able to keep up with the water demand of the corn crop. On the average, irrigated corn yields are expected to be down 4% with isolated areas down as much as 20%. Losses for the state's corn crop are expected to mount if the dryness persists.

The state of Rio Grande do Sul plants approximately 18% of Brazil's first corn crop acreage and 15% of Brazil's soybean acreage.