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August 8, 2011

Heavy Rains Freezing Temps Impact Corn and Wheat in Parana

Farmers in southern Brazil continue to confront adverse weather as the "winter of 2011" drags on. During the first four days of last week, areas of Parana received more than 150 to 200 mm of rainfall (6 to 8 inches), which is 50% more than what normally falls during the entire month of August. To add insult to injury, when the rainfall ended temperatures plummeted to below freezing for the third time since the end of June.

Only 25% of the safrinha corn in the state had been harvested when the heavy rains fell and farmers are worried that the extended period of wet weather and freezing temperatures will cause additional quality problems for the corn. Last year at the same time 35% to 40% of the safrinha corn had been harvested in the state. The late developing safrinha corn is most at risk of additional quality and yield losses. According to the State Secretary of Agriculture, the safrinha corn crop in the state had already suffered a 35% loss from earlier freezes and the recent rain and cold temperatures are expected to result in even greater losses.

The winter wheat crop in the state is also expected to be negatively impacted by the adverse weather as well. In the eastern part of the state as much as 30% of the wheat crop is now flowering, which makes the crop very sensitive to freezing temperatures. According to the office of the State Secretary of Agriculture, earlier frost and freezes had already reduced the yield prospects of the winter wheat by 12% and now with the latest cold temperatures, losses may go as high as 25%.

Other crops such as horticultural crops, citrus, and coffee are also expected to be negatively impacted.