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July 27, 2021

Frosts in Southern Brazil Impact Corn, Coffee, Sugar, Citrus, Wheat

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

A third wave of frosts is forecasted to hit southern Brazil this week and it is predicted to be the worst thus far this year. Last Wednesday, many cities in southern Brazil registered their lowest temperatures on record for that date. We have focused mostly on the impact on safrinha corn, but other crops such as coffee, sugarcane, citrus, and wheat have also been impacted by the cold temperatures.

Below are some observations concerning the impact of the cold temperatures.

  • The late planted safrinha corn has been most impacted by the frosts.
  • Frost-killed corn plants are very fragile, could result in a lot of lodging.
  • Corn is very slow to dry down due to the plant being killed before maturity.
  • Corn yields are severely impacted, some of the hardest hit fields may not even be harvested.
  • There will be a lot of high moisture, poor quality grain.
  • Brazil's corn exports will be much closer to 20 million tons instead of the most recent USDA estimate of 28 million tons.
  • Brazil may import as much as 4 million tons of corn, mostly from Argentina, but maybe a little from the U.S. The U.S. corn would be imported into northeastern Brazil.
  • Coffee was also impacted first by severe drought and now a series of frosts that have been the worst in 25 years. It is estimated that 150,000 to 200,000 hectares of coffee was impacted by the first series of frosts. More frosts are forecasted for this week. This year's crop is mostly harvested, so the impact will be on next year's production. A lot of coffee trees were killed, but the total extent of the damage is yet to be determined. Coffee prices are soaring.
  • Sugarcane production in southern Brazil could be down 15%. The crop was impacted first by historic drought and now frosts. It will take about two weeks to determine the extent of the damage. The most impacted sugarcane needs to be harvested as quickly as possible before it deteriorates even further.
  • Citrus producers in Sao Paulo also concerned about frost damage.
  • Winter wheat that was heading in Parana was also impacted by the frost. It will take a week or two to determine the extent of the damage, but losses could be severe for the most advanced wheat, and there are more frosts forecasted for this week.