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January 9, 2020

Drought Impacting Crops in Rio Grande do Sul in Southern Brazil

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

The state of Rio Grande do Sul in far southern Brazil has probably the worst record for adverse summer weather of any major crop producing state in Brazil. According to the Secretary of Agriculture for the State of Rio Grande do Sul, generally 7 out of 10 years there is some level of moisture deficits in the state, but thus far this summer, the state has encountered the driest weather in 7 years since the 2012/13 growing season.

The prolonged period of hot and dry weather is impacting both the crop production as well as meat and milk production in the state. In the hardest hit regions of the state, there has not been a significant rain in over 40 days and the temperatures have been hotter than normal. The forecast is calling for rain next week across much of the state, but normal rains may not return until February.

Corn is expected to be the crop impacted the most because the corn has been pollinating and filling grain under these adverse conditions. Local analysts feel the state has already lost at least 15% of the potential corn production. Later this week, Emater/RS will release their latest assessment concerning the summer crop production in the state.

Many local municipalities have already declared a state of emergency and they have started to deliver water to rural residents for both humans and their livestock.

In their January Crop Report, Conab indicated that their estimates for the state's crop production will probably decline in future reports. The data for the January report was finalized on December 21st and the weather has deteriorated since then.

The Secretary of Agriculture for the state has formed a special working group to monitor the impact of the drought on the state's agriculture. Farmers in the state have planted 780,000 hectares of corn, but only about 18% of the corn is irrigated (140,000 hectares). The Secretary has indicated that his goal is for one third of the corn in the state to be irrigated in the years ahead.