October 15, 2012
Wet Weather Improves Prospects for Rice in R. Grande do Sul
While the recent wet weather has been detrimental for the wheat and early planted corn crops in Rio Grande do Sul, it has been beneficial for the irrigated rice crop in the state. After the severe drought of 2011/12, producers were fearful that the reservoirs would not be replenished in time to plant all the intended rice acreage this year.
That was the case until a month ago when the spring rains started to sweep across the state. After a month of above normal rainfall, it now appears that the reservoirs have been replenished to the point where the rice acreage may decline only marginally compared to 2011/12. In 2011/12, rice producers in the state planted 1,053,000 hectares of rice and in their first estimate of the 2012/13 growing season; Conab estimates that they will plant 1,031,000 hectares
According to the Rice Producers Association of Rio Grande do Sul (Federarroz), the recent rains have replenished the reservoirs to the point where there is now enough water to plant at least 85% of the intended rice acreage in the state. If good rains continue to fall in the state over the next several weeks that percentage is expected to move higher.
In the end, the rice acreage may decline slightly compared to last growing season due to some farmers switching rice acreage to additional soybean production. Record high soybean prices have been a strong incentive for Brazilian farmers to reduce the acreages of full-season corn, cotton, dry beans, rice, and pastures in favor of additional soybean production.