Back
December 29, 2011

Dry weather Impacting Crops in Southern Brazil

Dry weather in southern Brazil has already taken a toll on crops in the region. After a dryer than normal November, the month of December is ending with only limited relief for the parched corn and soybean crops. In the western regions of Rio Grande do Sul, Parana, and Santa Catarina many fields have not received a significant rainfall for 35 to 45 days. The dry weather is coming a particularly bad time for much of the corn crop that is currently in its sensitive pollination phase.

According to Emater, which is the agricultural extension service, the dry weather has already impacted 50% of the corn and edible bean production in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. In the driest areas of the state, which are the northern and northwestern regions, the most severely affected corn is already being harvested for silage instead of grain production. Municipalities in northern Rio Grande do Sul have already declared a state of emergency in order to qualify for federal assistance.

Regions of western Parana recorded 30-35 days without rainfall until this past weekend. The dry conditions not only impacted the pollinating corn, it also accelerated the development of the early-maturing soybeans by approximately 10 days. Some of the earliest soybeans were already being harvested before Christmas, which is earlier than anyone can remember. As expected, the yields of the earliest harvested soybeans have been disappointing in the range of 2,400 kg/ha (approximately 35.0 bu/ac), which is down 30% from the average yield.

The state of Santa Catarina has also been impacted by the dry weather with corn, soybeans, and grapes being the crops most affected. In the western part of the state, local officials are hauling water for human and livestock consumption, especially to small farmers whose wells have gone dry.

If significant rains are not received in the region over the next several weeks, then the developing soybean crop could also be significantly impacted.