May 19, 2022

2022 Brazil Safrinha Corn Threatened by Drought and Frost

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

The dry weather in central Brazil has been the main topic of discussion for several weeks, but now the big news concerning the Brazilian safrinha corn crop is the possibility of frosts/freezes this week in southern Brazil.

The Brazilian National Weather Service (Inmet) is forecasting the possibility of record cold temperatures this week in southern Brazil with widespread frosts and freezes. An initial cold front moved into southern Brazil over the weekend and a reinforcing wave of cold air is moving in this week.

Thus far, the safrinha corn has been spared any damage from frost, but there are several more opportunities for frost before the cold air dissipates in central Brazil.

If the forecast verifies, it could negatively impact the safrinha corn in Parana, southern Mato Grosso do Sul, and southern Sao Paulo. It could also impact coffee, oranges, sugarcane, and horticultural crops in Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo. Some meteorologists are forecasting that there may be frost as far north as the state of Goias, but that is speculation at this point.

If there are frosts/freezes in the safrinha corn areas of southern Brazil this week, it would have a negative impact on the corn, especially the late planted corn. This is very early for temperatures this cold, so even if the safrinha corn is spared from damage this week, there may be more cold outbreaks before the crop is safe from frost.

Dry weather continues to negatively impact the safrinha corn in central Brazil and there is very little rain in the forecast. In parts of Mato Grosso, it has been 35 to 50 days since the last rain and it has been even dryer in Goias where the last rain in some areas was 40-50 days ago.

Mato Grosso - Temperatures are forecasted to cool in Mato Grosso, but there is probably not going to be a frost in the state except for maybe the southeast corner of the state. The problem for safrinha corn in the state continues to be dry weather. The condition of corn in the state is highly variable. The corn is generally in good condition across the northern part of the state. The corn condition has deteriorated across western, central, and southeastern parts of the state. There may be a few fields harvested before the end of May, but the main corn harvest will not start until early June.

In the municipality of Primavera do Leste in southeastern Mato Grosso, they have not received a rain in more than 45 days and the president of the Rural Union of Primavera do Leste feels the corn has lost 30% of its yield potential. A normal safrinha corn yield in the municipality is in the range of 105 to 110 sacks per hectare (100 to 105 bu/ac), but this year, yields will be in the range of 80 sacks per hectare (76 bu/ac). Additional rain at this point would not add back any yield, but only keep the losses from getting larger.

Parana - If there is a frost in Parana this week, the safrinha corn is at a stage of development where the crop could be harmed by cold temperatures. The Department of Rural Economics (Deral) indicated earlier last week that corn was 15% in vegetative development, 41% pollinating, 41% filling grain, and 3% mature. Deral rated the safrinha corn as 2% poor, 10% average, and 88% good.

If there is a frost in Parana, the extent of the damage will depend on where the frost occurs. Most of the safrinha corn is grown in the western and norther parts of the state. In southern and eastern Parana, farmers are more inclined to plant winter wheat as their second crop. Deral reported that the wheat in the state was 26% planted as of earlier last week.

Mato Grosso do Sul - The safrinha corn in southern Mato Grosso do Sul is about the same stage of development as in Parana. If there is a frost this week, it will probably only impact the corn in the southern part of the state.

Goias - The recent weather in Goias has probably been the driest of any major safrinha producing state, which is ironic because Goias had the best weather in Brazil for the soybean crop. Some meteorologists are speculating that there may be a light frost as far north as southern Goias, but I would not bet on it at this point.

Minas Gerais - The safrinha corn in western Minas Gerais has also suffered from dry weather and there is a possibility of frost in the state later this week.

Sao Paulo - The safrinha corn in southern Sao Paulo has probably the same level of risk for frost as in Parana.