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July 21, 2016

Frost in Western Parana could Impact Wheat Production

Earlier this week temperatures in western Parana fell to below freezing once again making this winter season in southern Brazil exceptionally cold. Earlier frosts negatively impacted the safrinha corn crop and now the latest frosts are impacting the wheat crop as well.

According to agronomists from the Department of Agriculture for the State of Parana (Deral), the wheat that was impacted the most was the early planted wheat in the western part of the state. Deral estimates that 6% of the wheat in the state was flowering when the cold temperatures hit. When wheat is flowering it is very sensitive to freezing temperatures. It is unknown how much damage was done by the cold temperatures because it usually takes a number of days to assess the damage from freezing temperatures.

The wheat acreage in Parana is estimated to be 1.13 million hectares or down 16% compared to last year. In the northern part of the state, the wheat acreage is down due to the fact that farmers in the region planted more safrinha corn instead of wheat. In southern Parana, the wheat acreage is down because of the poor results from the 2015 crop.

Parana is the leading wheat producing state in Brazil followed by the state of Rio Grande do Sul. Freezing temperatures were also recorded in Rio Grande do Sul earlier this week, but the wheat in that state was planted later and is either dormant or in vegetative development when frost is not a major concern.

Farmers in southern Brazil are hoping for a rebound in their wheat yields after two very disappointing wheat harvests. The problem over the last two years in southern Brazil has been heavy rainfall during harvest which impacted the yields and the quality of the grain. A developing La Nina is expected to result in dryer than normal weather in southern Brazil during the period from September to December. Dryer weather would be beneficial for the wheat harvest, but not for the newly planted soybean and full-season corn crops.