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October 15, 2015

Southern Brazil Continues to Receive Heavy Rainfall

El Nino generally correlates with heavy rainfall in southern Brazil and that certainly has been the case this spring in the states of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina where localized flooding has driven thousands of families from their homes in low-lying areas. The forecast is for improved weather this week before the approach of yet another cold front and the possibility of additional rainfall. The wet weather in southern Brazil is in stark contrast with the dryer than normal conditions impacting much of central and eastern Brazil.

The rainfall in the state of Parana has not been quite as heavy as it has been in the other two southern state and farmers in Parana have made good progress in planting their soybeans. In the state of Parana, the 2015/16 soybean crop is 36% planted compared to 33% planted last year at this time and 23% planted last week. The most advanced planting pace is in the western part of the state where some farmers have planted 80% of their soybeans. Parana is the second leading soybean producing state in Brazil following Mato Grosso.

In Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina the soybean planting is just now getting underway and it will continue until early December. Rio Grande do Sul is the third leading soybean producing state in Brazil and Conab is expecting the soybean acreage to increase 1.0 to 2.5% as farmers continue to reduce their corn acreage in favor of more profitable soybean production. The corn acreage in the state is expected to decline to 779,000 hectares, which is the lowest since records have been kept (approximately 40 years).

Soybeans are generally planted later in Rio Grande do Sul than in other areas of Brazil because much of the crop is planted after the winter wheat is harvested. The start of the winter wheat harvest has been delayed this year due to the wet weather. El Nino is expected to result in heavier than normal rainfall across southern Brazil for the next few months and generally El Nino correlates with good soybean and corn yields in southern Brazil.

The wet weather has also slowed the planting of the irrigated rice in Rio Grande do Sul. Emater estimates that only 15% of the rice has been planted and if it stopped raining today, it would take another 8-10 days before farmers could resume planting. Unfortunately, the forecast is for more showers which is certain to delay the rice planting even more.

Farmers in the state are also trying to harvest their winter wheat, but the adverse weather has already reduced the crop by 30% and more loses are expected. Much of the wheat in the state is expected to be of low quality only suited for animal feed.