May 23, 2022

Brazil Experienced a Historically Cold Week Last Week

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

It was a cold week last week in Brazil from Mato Grosso in central Brazil all the way south to the southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul. All across central and southern Brazil, there were reports of patchy light to moderate frosts especially in low lying areas and at higher elevations.

There were record low temperatures last week, but no season-ending killing frost, so I would say that the safrinha corn "dodged a bullet" at least this time. I say this time because it is just May and the coldest months are usually June-July-August. There was some light damage to some of the safrinha corn and the corn will still be vulnerable to frost for about another month.

While the safrinha corn could only be impacted by additional frosts for approximately another month, for cotton, sugarcane and tree crops such as coffee and citrus, there could still be significant damage from frost over the next few months.

Even though the "winter season" is just getting started in Brazil, there have already been numerous outbreaks of cold weather and patchy frost in southern Brazil. Meteorologists are attributing the cold temperatures to La Nina which is still present in the Pacific Ocean. Therefore, there is a strong likelihood of additional cold outbreaks over the next few months.

Regions of southeastern Mato Grosso experienced a frost last Friday morning, which is extremely rare. Other areas of the state experienced frost on the windshields last Friday morning, something that only "old timers" can ever recall seeing. For the safrinha corn in the state, the cold temperatures did not appear to cause any significant damage to the corn.

An example of some of the damage from last week's frost is evident in the cotton fields of the municipality of Campo Verde in southeastern Mato Grosso, which suffered frost damage last Friday morning. The city of Campo Verde is east of Mato Grosso's capital city of Cuiaba and it sits at a higher elevation. Campo Verde is on the Mato Grosso plateau and has an elevation of 2,415 feet, while Cuiaba is off the plateau and has an elevation of 540 feet.

The city next to Campo Verde is the city of Chapado dos Guimaraes which is known as a vacation destination for its national park and cooler weather compared to Cuiaba, which is only about 80 kilometers away. As a point of reference, Chapado dos Guimaraes is the exact geographic center of South America.