Martell: Argentina Wet, Brazil Dry as Spring Planting Begins

September 10, 2012 05:00 AM

The following content was provided by meteorologist Gail Martell of

A very odd weather pattern has emerged in South America, as Argentina is receiving extremely heavy rainfall while South Brazil farms in Rio Grande do Sul and Parana are in the midst of severe drought.     

Spring Planting Worries in South Brazil

Very dry conditions currently are present in South Brazil corn and soybean states Parana and Rio Grande do Sul. This is very detrimental for spring planting as above-normal rains would be required for favorable crop establishment.

Sept rainfall Deficit South Brazil

The dry weather began late in June in the southern farm states Rio Grande do Sul and Parana. Normally winters are rather wet in these areas but a persistent stable ridge of high pressure suppressed rainfall this year.

Parana has accrued a 125 millimeter moisture deficit (5 inches) in the recent 10-11 weeks. Rio Grande do Sul drought is even worse with a 317 millimeter (12.5 inches) deficit. The 2 states together grow one-third of Brazil soybeans and around 30% of corn.

August Heat Stress South Brazil

Spring corn seeding usually begins in September, but this season is apt to be delayed by serious South Brazil drought. Soybeans are planted later, mostly late October and early November.

Brazil High Wheat Import Needs

We have not even mentioned the drought’s impact on winter wheat. Parana and Rio Grande do Sul are the top wheat states growing 85% of the national crop. The USDA pegged Brazil wheat production at 5 million metric tons in the August 1 report, but considering ongoing drought the harvest may turn out worse. Wheat normally heads out in the month of August, requiring heavy rain for the best results. Instead, conditions were very dry. Hot temperatures also pushed development.

Brazil is the world’s 5th most populated nation consuming 11 million metric tons annually. A wheat shortfall may lead to import needs of 7–7.5 million metric tons.

Argentina Drought Cured

Extremely heavy rainfall has completely wiped out drought in the Argentina grain belt, even creating a large surplus of field moisture. The grain belt received 75 millimeters of rainfall in the month of August and well above normal. Cordoba and southern Santa Fe received another 3-4 inch rains last week with strong thunderstorms. Corn planting normally beginning in late September may be delayed.

Argentina Rainfall Time Series June 11  Sept 7

Winter wheat plagued by prolonged drought is expected to make sharp improvement. However, as mentioned above, corn planting would be delayed. Grain farmers are not complaining, rather happy with the rainfall.

The new forecast this week calls for scattered rains in South Brazil, for a change, while Argentina dries out. Perhaps this indicates a change in the weather pattern.



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