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April 27, 2011

Rainy Season Is Probably Over in Mato Grosso

Rondonopolis, Mato Grosso - For all practical purposes the rainy season in central Brazil has ended for this growing season. In Rondonopolis, which is located in southern Mato Grosso, the last rainfall was three weeks ago and there is no rain in the forecast. If this is the end of the rainy season, then the total rainfall for the month of April will be 0.5 inches and that fell during the first week of April. Most farmers in the region think there might be one more lighter shower if they are lucky; the reality is that the dry season has begun. Temperatures are in the low to mid 90s and most days have white puffy summer-like clouds. As the dry season progresses, the clouds disappear and every day will have a bright blue sky.

On the horizon you can see one or two storm clouds trying to build, but they don't develop like they do in the rainy season and they only result in light showers. The air is very clear in Mato Grosso and from a high point you can see developing storms for 150 miles in all directions, so driving through the countryside gives a very good perspective on rainfall.

Rondonopolis is located in southern Mato Grosso and we drove from the southern tip of the state past the northern border of the state deep into the Amazon region. The further north you go the longer the rains have continued to fall. In the Amazon states of Amazonas and Para it is still raining although less than it was a month ago, but that is nearly 1,000 kilometers north of Rondonopolis.

The rainfall (or lack thereof) is going to be important for the development of the safrinha crop. The moisture supply for the safrinhacorn crop in Mato Grosso is approximately 50% very short, 30% short, and 20% adequate. Going forward, the evapotranspiration rate is going to be very high due to the strong sunshine coupled with low relative humidity. In areas where the soil moisture is rated adequate today, the soil moisture supplies will decline to short or very short within several more weeks if there is no more rain.