Martell's Global Weather Highlights

October 24, 2011 01:14 AM

The following content was provided by meteorologist Gail Martell of

Australia Wheat Production Bolstered by Bumper Crop in West

The Australia Commonwealth Bank last week boosted the Australia new-crop wheat production estimate to 25.224 million metric tons, close to but not reaching the 26.325 million metric tons grown in 2010-11. High yields in Western Australia wheat would nearly offset a mediocre harvest in the East Coast states.

Disparate weather has rearranged the Australia wheat map, changing wheat production, by state, but a favorable harvest is expected nonetheless. High production for 2 years in a row means wheat exports would match the 18.3 million metric tons (MMT) sold in 2010-11, perhaps even exceeding that level. Carryover stocks are said to be ample.

Vegetation vs Year Ago

Western Australia wheat output would almost double to 8.97 million metric tons compared to 4.70 MMT last season with historic drought. East coast wheat production from New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland is set to shrink 30% to 7.53 MMT, using updated estimates. Nagging drought has been detrimental for wheat, just the opposite of overly abundant rainfall last season.

Mato Grosso Heavy Rain Spurs Soybean Planting

The soybean planting season is off to good start in Mato Grosso with ample rainfall in October. Early soybean planting improves the outlook for full-season corn, planted as a second crop after the soybean harvest is finished in February. Last year, soybean planting was delayed not beginning in earnest until the end of October. This, in turn, pushed back corn planting. Unfortunately, corn was still filling grain when the monsoon ended in June-July, and produced a disappointing low yield. This year, chances for a profitable yield in corn are much improved with timely soybean planting.

Mt Gr Heavy Rain

Mato Grosso corn has become a more popular crop in recent years increasing from 2.31 million metric tons in 2004 to 8.18 MMT in 2009. The state will never become a major corn producer, as unreliable rainfall is always a worry late in the growing season. Soybeans are still "king". Production is more than twice as abundant as corn, increasing to 18-19 MMT *in 2009-2010. Mato Grosso is Brazil's largest soybean state accounting for 28-29% of national production.

Drought Worries in Western Corn Belt

Very dry fall weather has depleted field moisture in Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota, very producing states for corn and soybeans. Reduced yields in soybeans are anticipated from very dry pod filling conditions August-September. Iowa has accrued a 4.2 inch rainfall deficit, August 1 - October 17 and 54% of normal. Minnesota was even drier with a 5.4 inch moisture deficit. Illinois cumulative rains were 3.2 inches below normal. The 3 states produce 40-45% of United States corn and a similar amount of soybeans.

Drought Western corn belt

Depleted field moisture may have a negative effect on next year’s corn production. Stored soil moisture is a valuable asset, augmenting growing- season rainfall, and thus reducing chances for moisture stress and reduced yields. Around 30% of Midwest annual precipitation is received in the off-season from September through March.

The very dry conditions may be the consequence of La Nina. Ordinarily, drought develops in the Great Plains but may affect also affect the Western Corn Belt. The La Nina strength is "moderate" presently. The Climate Prediction Center says La Nina is expected to strengthen and continue through the Northern Hemipshere winter.



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