MARTELL: RAINFALL PICKS UP ACROSS SOUTHERN BRAZIL... Meteorologist Gail Martell of MartellCropProjections.com says showers have increased in southern Brazil so far this month, but not enough rain has developed to replenish parched fields after a very dry November. "Rainfall last week exceeded 2 inches over a large area of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and southern Parana. However, that compares to a four to six inch moisture deficit after a very dry November," she says. "An unstable trough of low pressure will bring more rain to South Brazil this week, though hot temperatures are expected to continue with highs in the mid-90s F."
Meanwhile, Martell says persistent heavy rainfall is preventing Argentine producers from getting corn planted in Buenos Aires, the top producing area. The area has seen seven to 11 inches of rain in the past 45 days. "Fields are saturated from historic heavy rainfall," says Martell. "Cordoba and Santa Fe farms benefited from a stretch of drier weather in November, permitting corn planting to advance." Click here for more, including related maps.
ARMY CORPS REJECTS PUSH TO RELEASE WATER FROM THE MISSOURI RIVER... The Army Corps of Engineers recently rejected federal lawmaker requests that the Corps release more water from the Missouri River to keep the Mississippi River open for barge traffic. A letter by Army Assistant Secretary Jo-Ellen Darcy obtained by The Associated Press last week downplayed the necessity of doing so. Darcy cited the updated National Weather Service forecast that showed the Mississippi's water levels have not been falling as quickly as expected and indicated that the expedited efforts to remove river rocks south of St. Louis would help to keep the Mississippi River open for shipping. Recent projections show water levels in some areas of the river will be too low for barge navigation by mid-December.
According to AP's report on the letter, Darcy says the Army Corps is unwilling to release more water from the Missouri River to flow into the Mississippi River because doing so could have a negative effect on recreation, drinking water supplies, animal habitat and hydropower. Plus, the Army Corps of Engineers is bound by legislation to act in the best interests of the Missouri River, regardless of its impact on the Mississippi River.
USDA TEMPORARILY ALLOWS MORE MEAT & GRAINS IN SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM... Over the weekend, Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.) announced USDA has agreed to ease the strict caloric intake rule for grains, starches and protein in the new National School Lunch and Breakfast Program to allow for more consumption of meat and grains. USDA's decision came in response to a bipartisan letter spearheaded by Hoeven and Senator Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) that was motivated by correspondence from parents, school board members and superintendents who have been dissatisfied with the one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition of the new federal school meal program. The change is only for the 2012-13 school year, however, which prompted Hoeven to say, "the new flexibility should be permanent... we will continue to press that case." Click here for more.
S&D REPORT OUT TOMORROW MORNING... USDA will release its December Supply & Demand Report at 7:30 a.m. CT Tuesday. Make sure you check profarmer.com for full report details and analysis. Click here for pre-report expectations.