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June 27, 2011

Coldest Air of the Season Spreads Over Southern Brazil

Over the next few days the coldest air mass of the season thus far is expected to spread over southern Brazil. In southern Rio Grande do Sul, subfreezing temperatures are expected for several nights in a row. In the higher elevations of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina, frosts, freezes, and maybe even some snow are also expected. The cold weather will also spread over Parana, eastern Sao Paulo and southern Minas Gerais by mid-week.

Pastures and livestock are at risk and ranchers and farmers are being advised to have additional feed such as hay or silage available for their cattle, especially dairy cattle. Some of the native grasses used for pastures may go dormant or be killed, but winter pastures such as oats are more resistant to the cold temperatures. Horticultural and floricultural crops will also be affected.

The one remaining grain crop in southern Brazil that could be impacted by the cold weather is the safrinha corn crop in northern Parana. The early planted safrinha corn is maturing and should not be affected, but the later planted corn is still in the grain filling process and susceptible to the cold temperatures. Sub-freezing temperatures are not expected in the corn producing region, but nighttime temperatures are expected to be as low as the upper 30s. These cold temperatures are expected to last several days and they will be cold enough to shock the corn plants and slow the maturation process.

Cold weather is potentially the biggest problem for safrinha corn production in southern Brazil, whereas in central Brazil the main problem is usually dry weather. This is the second year in a row in which unusually cold temperatures have hit southern Brazil