Dec 16, 2021

Dry Weather Accelerates Corn Losses in Rio Grande do Sul

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

Prolonged periods of dry weather have taken a toll on the crops in north-central Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil. The corn crop has been the most impacted because the dry weather hit during pollination and grain filling, but the dry weather is now impacting the soybeans as well. The state is responsible for approximately 18% of Brazil's first corn crop acreage and 16% of Brazil's soybean acreage.

Some regions of north-central Rio Grande do Sul have been 60 days without significant rainfall and recent rains have not been enough to recharge the soil moisture.

According to the president of the Rural Union of Noa-Me-Toque/RS in north-central Rio Grande do Sul, much of the corn in the area has suffered losses of 70% with the worst areas having losses as high as 90%. Many of the farmers are cutting the corn for silage instead of grain, but the lack of ear production makes for poor quality silage with low protein content. Dairy farmers in the region have been forced to purchase additional feed to maintain milk volumes.

The dry conditions have also slowed soybean planting and only 10% of the anticipated soybeans have been planted. Many of the soybeans will have to be replanted due to poor germination.

The ideal planting window for soybeans has passed and farmers need to plant their soybeans by December 31st in order to maintain their crop insurance. Agricultural groups in the state have already petitioned the federal government to extend the last permitted planting date for soybeans.

An additional problem for farmers in the region dates to the 2019 growing season when drought severely impacted the summer crops. At that time, farmers could not pay their production loans, so the loan payments were extended until 2022. Now they are facing another poor crop which will make it even harder to pay off past debts.