June 24, 2014
A Milder but Wet Winter Season Expected in Southern Brazil
Farmers in Rio Grande do Sul in far southern Brazil can expect a cold and wet winter period over the next three months, but probably not as cold as it was last year when snow fell in dozens of cities in the state. That is the assessment of meteorologist from the consulting agency Somar Meteorologia who is crediting a milder winter to the possibility of an El Nino.
El Nino generally results in above average rainfall in southern Brazil during the second half of the year. The heavier than normal rainfall could impede the advance of polar air into southern Brazil resulting in less intense outbreaks of cold temperatures.
Repeated episodes of cooler temperatures and rainfall are expected in the state until mid-August when the chances of below normal temperatures eases. There may be a few episodes of below normal temperatures and scattered frosts at the higher elevations, but nothing compared to the much colder than normal temperatures experienced last year at this time.
The above normal rainfall is expected to continue into the spring planting season which begins in August. A wetter than normal spring could delay the start of rice planting as well as the start of the wheat harvest in September. In fact, one of the biggest impediments to wheat production in the state is the potential for heavy rains during the harvest period.
Heavy rains can also be a problem for the wheat crop in Parana. High humidity and frequent showers during harvest can result in poorer quality wheat as well as lower yields. The state of Parana experienced heavier than normal rains during late May and into the month of June which delayed the wheat planting, but no long term damage is expected from the slower than normal start.
A reduced potential for frost is very welcomed news for coffee and sugarcane producers in southern Brazil. Brazil's coffee crop suffered severe damage due to very high temperatures and dry weather during December and January and the crop can ill afford to be impacted by frost as well. The same can be said for the sugarcane crop in southern Brazil which is expected to be disappointing due to the drought earlier in the year.