September 11, 2015

Rain slows Wheat Harvest in Parana increasing Quality Concerns

Wet weather in the state of Parana in southern Brazil has farmers worried about the quantity and quality of their 2015 wheat crop. According to the Department of Rural Economics (Deral), farmers in the state, which is the largest wheat producing state in Brazil, have harvested 22% of their 2015 wheat crop which is up from 10% last week. Farmers made good progress harvesting wheat earlier in the week, but recent wet weather is keeping the combines out of the field. Of the wheat remaining to be harvested, 77% is rated in good condition, 21% is rated as average, and 2% is rated as poor.

Quality concerns due to wet weather are always a problem for wheat producers in southern Brazil and the forecast for the next two weeks looks especially worrisome. Meteorologist are forecasting daily chances of rainfall for the next two weeks with totals potentially approaching 8-9 inches for the period. If that forecast verifies, it could be a big problem for wheat producers in the northern part of the state where most of the wheat is produced.

Farmers are reporting lower quality for the wheat that has already been harvested due to increased disease pressure and it could get worse. Wet weather as the crop matures can foster fungal diseases that can reduce yields as well as the quality of the grain. Low quality wheat is generally not suited for bread making and instead is used as animal feed. Farmers face a significant discount for their wheat if they deliver low quality grain.

The heavier than normal rainfall is being attributed to the strong El Nino in the Pacific Ocean.