Martell: Wet Conditions in Southern Great Plains Atypical of La Nina

06:46AM Dec 19, 2011
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The following content was provided by meteorologist Gail Martell of

Wet Conditions in Southern Great Plains Atypical of La Nina

Hard red winter wheat has received 2.8 inches of rainfall the past 4 weeks and 50% above normal. That compares with extremely dry conditions August through October. Unusually warm and wet conditions are promoting late-season wheat growth and development. Hard red winter wheat improved to 49% good-excellent, 38% fair and 13% poor-very poor by November 27, the last official report from USDA, and much better than the previous year’s 42% good-excellent, 39% fair and 19% poor-very poor.

Heavy Rain Great Plains

With damp field conditions and increased root growth, soil erosion is less likely to occur, a potential source of wheat damage in the blustery winter season.

The subtropical jet stream normally is weak with the La Nina in effect, the primary source of winter rainfall in the southern United States. Recently the southern jet stream has been very strong, carrying embedded strong rain showers into Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. The wet pattern is expected to continue this week with an additional .75 - 1 inch of rainfall this week in the top 3 bread-wheat states.

Emerging Drought in Southern South America

Rio Grande do Sul has been dry for over 6 weeks, Brazil’s southernmost farm state and a key producer of corn and soybeans. Extremely dry conditions in Parana have been present for a full month. Parana is an agricultural giant, the top Brazil producing state of corn and second most important soybean state. Below-normal rainfall is expected to continue in South Brazil for another week, based on the latest guidance from the GFS model. Abnormally dry weather may well be a consequence of La Nina. Very similar dry conditions began developing at this time of year in 2008, another instance of a weak-to-moderate La Nina.

Emerging Drought So America

Mato Grosso soybeans were under severe heat and moisture stress in November, the top Brazil soybean state. Growing conditions have stabilized recently with increasing showers last week. Worries about soybean yields continue. The key pod filling stage is getting underway when very heavy rainfall is required to enhance the yield. Conditions were so dry previously in western Mato Grosso that a new record was set for low rainfall. Not all soybeans are getting the heavy rain they need with hit-or-miss showers , where soil moisture was badly depleted from previous drought.

Argentina corn and soybeans also have been subject to heat and moisture stress, first in central and southern Buenos Aires in the spring planting season. More recently, moisture stress has developed in the central grain belt affecting northern Buenos Aires, Santa Fe and Entre Rios.

Rising Trend in Russia Grain Production

The Russia grain harvest finished at 92 million metric tons and 2-3 million tons higher than originally expected. Wheat output was 56.5 million metric tons, and 36% higher than last year's drought-ravaged 41.51 million metric tons (MMT).

Russia Planting Rains 2011

Russia new grain crop in 2011-12 may reach 95-100 MMT, based on expert opinion from Andrey Sisov Sr, chief economist and CEO of SovEcon. Mr. Sisov is upbeat on new crop production due to more favorable winter-grain planting conditions and sharply higher acreage, compared to last season. The new grain harvest if it reaches 100 MMT would be 22 MMT higher than annual grain consumption of 78 MMT, allowing for high exports in 2012.