December 10, 2010

Moisture Needs Becoming Critical for Crops in Rio Grande do Sul

Farmers in southern Rio Grande do Sul continue to be concerned about the impact of La Nina on the weather patterns in the state. Thus far, it appears that the state of Rio Grande do Sul is where the affect of La Nina has been most pronounced in Brazil. The state has received the least amount of rainfall thus far this growing season of any of the major soybean and corn producing states in Brazil.

Soybean production in the state is concentrated in the northern half of the state which accounts for approximately 80% of the total soybean production. The remaining 20% of the production is spread throughout the southern half of the state. Soybean planting in Rio Grande do Sul occurs later than in other major producing states. The soybean crop in the state is still in its early vegetative development and what is left to be planted will be planted as double crop soybeans after the wheat is harvested.

The far northern regions of the state received enough rainfall over this past week to sustain the crop in the near term. Rainfall amounts were less in the central part of the state and no rain at all fell in the far southern regions of the state.

The areas where rainfall is needed the most include the far northwestern sections of the state including the Missoes Region and far western and southern locations. These southern most regions of the state are traditionally cattle country, but in recent years, more and more soybeans have been grown in southern Rio Grande do Sul. Approximately 20% of the state's soybeans are in urgent need of additional moisture.

Additionally, farmers are very concerned about the long range forecast. As long as La Nina remains in place, meteorologists in Brazil are predicting that the months of January and February should also be dryer than normal. These are critical months for soybean production in Rio Grande do Sul because that is when the soybean crop will be flowering and filling pods.