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September 18, 2015

Frost, Hail, Storms, Localized Floods in Rio Grande do Sul

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

The farmers in Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil had a bad week. First, their wheat and corn crops were impacted by an unusually late frost that hit the state last Friday night. The wheat was 80% flowering or filling grain at the time of the frost and the amount of damage is still being assessed.

At the time of the frost, approximately 35% of the full-season corn in the state had been planted and the freezing temperatures caused severe damage to the earliest planted corn. Corn that had been planted in August suffered the most damage because the growing point was above ground and the plant was probably killed by the cold temperatures. Corn that had just recently been planted still had its growing point below ground, so the plant survived, but all the exposed leaves were killed. The smaller corn will regrow, but a lot of the larger corn was killed. The corn that was killed will either be replanted or switched to soybeans.

The second major weather event occurred Wednesday night when strong storms swept into the state carrying with them heavy rains and hail the size of eggs. Local authorities reported that 111 cities in the state experienced hail damage with the city of Sarandi being the hardest hit. More than 500 houses in the city had damage to their tile roofs. Many areas received 2-4 inches of precipitation or more resulting in localized flooding.

Any wheat in the state that got hit by hail was severely damaged. The wheat was far enough along in its development that there is no chance for the crop to recuperate from the hail. The full-season corn was also damaged as well and the extent of the damage will depend on how big the corn was when the hail hit. Generally, the bigger the corn the greater the damage.

The weather threat in the state may not be over. Meteorologists in Brazil are predicting heavier than normal rains in southern Brazil over the next few months due to El Nino. Farmers in the state hope that the forecast are wrong.