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February 10, 2014

Blocking High Pressure in S.E. Brazil may break down next Week

Crops in eastern and southern Brazil have been suffering under an extended period of hot and dry weather due to an extensive high pressure system that has been positioned over southeastern Brazil since late December. The high pressure has blocked the entry of cold fronts into the region and the resulting rains that usually accompany the passage of the cold fronts. The frontal systems have been restricted to central Argentina and Uruguay resulting in heavy rains and localized flooding in the region.

Various meteorologists in Brazil are now forecasting that the high pressure will break down early next week allowing for some precipitation and lower temperatures to return to eastern and southern Brazil. The improved conditions can't come soon enough for the region because the peak of the rainy season in Brazil has already passed and additional moisture is desperately needed to restore some of the depleted soil moisture before the onset of the next dry season.

The states affected the most in Brazil include Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Parana, Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais, Goias, and Bahia. The crops in Brazil impacted the most from the hot and dry conditions include: coffee, sugarcane, oranges, soybeans and corn. The coffee crop in Brazil is concentrated in the state of Minas Gerais and the sugarcane and orange crops are concentrated in the state of Sao Paulo. Brazil is the world's largest producer of coffee, sugarcane, and oranges.

The coffee growing regions of Brazil received only 2-4 inches of precipitation during the month of January which is normally a very wet period in southeastern Brazil. Rainfall during January is essential for the formation of the coffee berries that are harvested during May to September. Lower sugarcane tonnage is expected from the crop that will be harvested during the second half of 2014 due to the dry weather impeding the crop development during January and February. Orange production is also expected to be down due to smaller sized fruit caused by the dry weather.

Soybean production in southern Brazil is mostly concentrated in Parana and Rio Grande do Sul with lessor amounts produced in Goias, Minas Gerais and Bahia. The area of greatest concern for soybeans is the state of Rio Grande do Sul due to the crop's later development in the state. Most of the soybeans in the state are in midst of setting pods and filling pods when the crop is most sensitive to moisture deficits.

For corn production, the states of Minas Gerais and Rio Grande do Sul are the two leading full-season corn producing states in Brazil. The state of Parana is also a leading corn producer, but most of the corn in the state is produced as a second crop following soybeans.

Lower soybean yields are expected in some of these states, but better than expected soybean yields in the state of Mato Grosso, which has the largest production, could compensate at least partially for lower yields elsewhere. The full-season corn yields are also expected to be impacted by the dry conditions, but most of Brazil's corn is now produced as a second crop which is just now being planted.