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March 16, 2018

Welcomed Rains finally reach Rio Grande do Sul in Southern Brazil

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

Farmers in Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil finally received some much needed rainfall on Thursday. Even though the amounts were heavier across the northern half of the state, the desperately dry areas of southern Rio Grande do Sul also received some rain as well.

The drought in Argentina that has caught so much media attention has also impacted the southern half of the state of Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil. The weather in the state often times is more similar to that of Argentina than to other regions in Brazil and that has certainly been the case again this growing season. The possibility of drought in any given year is higher in the state of Rio Grande do Sul than in any other Brazilian state outside of northeastern Brazil.

Up until yesterday, the southern half of the state has basically received very little rainfall during the entire growing season. As a result, the water supply for many farmers and rural residents is critically short. In many municipalities, water is being trucked in for families and for their livestock operations.

Thirty one municipalities in the state have declared a state of emergency due to critical water shortages. Municipal reservoirs which supply urban consumers are at critical low levels and the fear is that the situation could get worse as they move into the fall and winter when the rainfall generally tapers off.

Farmers in the southern half of the state are reporting severe losses for their crops including soybeans. Rio Grande do Sul is the third largest soybean producing state in Brazil, but only about 18% of the soybeans in the state are produced in the southern half of the state.

The soybeans in the northern half of the state are expected to mostly compensate for lower yields in the southern half of the state. Even with the recent rainfall, farmers in the southern part of the state are expected to abandon some of the most severely impacted soybeans.