USDA: Beneficial Rains Continue Across Brazil's Grain Belt

November 13, 2013 02:57 AM



USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility has provided the following weekly weather/crop highlights:

  • EUROPE: Unseasonably warm weather continued over the continent, with rain in the west and north contrasting with generally dry conditions across southeastern Europe. A northward-displaced jet stream brought a second week of above-normal temperatures (up to 7°C above normal), with highs exceeding 15°C in the north and 20°C (locally above 25°C) in the south. The warmth enabled winter grains and oilseeds to add vegetative growth and spared late-maturing summer crops any season-ending freezes. Showers (10-65 mm) continued to fall over western and northern Europe, further delaying corn harvesting in France and Italy but providing additional soil moisture for winter wheat and rapeseed development in the United Kingdom as well as northern portions of France, Germany, and Poland. In addition, occasionally gusty winds caused power outages and localized damage to infrastructure, though impacts on agriculture were minor – if any. In contrast, sunny, warm weather continued across southeastern Europe, promoting winter wheat and rapeseed development. Dry conditions also returned to Spain, allowing producers to begin winter wheat planting.

  • FSU-WESTERN: Unseasonably warm conditions expanded across the region, with rain in the north contrasting with dry weather in the south. A northward-displaced jet stream allowed spring-like warmth (2-8°C above normal) to expand from eastern Europe into Russia, as daytime highs approached or exceeded 20°C in most major winter crop areas. Consequently, winter wheat and rapeseed added vegetative growth at a rapid pace, and any late-planted grains and oilseeds were able to become fully established prior to the seasonal onset of dormancy later in autumn. Rain (10-20 mm) was confined to northern growing areas, while mostly sunny skies favored seasonal fieldwork in Ukraine and Russia’s Southern District.

  • MIDDLE EAST: Dry weather in the north contrasted with periods of rain in southern growing areas. An upper-air disturbance triggered light to moderate showers (2-33 mm) from southern Iraq into central Iran, providing soil moisture for vegetative wheat and barley. Meanwhile, dry weather across Turkey, Syria, and northern Iraq favored a rapid pace of winter wheat planting, although producers would likely welcome some soil moisture in the near future for crop establishment prior to the arrival of colder weather.

  • NORTHWEST AFRICA: The advent of the winter grain growing season featured showers in the east and mostly sunny skies in the west. A slow-moving disturbance over the central Mediterranean generated periods of rain (10-50 mm) in Algeria and Tunisia, providing soil moisture for winter wheat and barley establishment. In contrast, dry, warm weather promoted winter wheat planting in Morocco.

  • SOUTH ASIA: Seasonably dry weather overspread India following consistently heavy rainfall over the past few weeks (specifically in the east). The return to more seasonable conditions promoted summer (kharif) crop harvesting across the country as well as winter (rabi) crop planting in the north and east. Elsewhere in the region, similarly dry weather facilitated rice and cotton harvesting in Pakistan in addition to winter wheat planting in the north. Dry weather also benefited late-season (aman) rice maturation and harvesting in Bangladesh. Meanwhile, seasonally wet weather (30-125 mm) boosted moisture supplies for main-season (maha) rice in Sri Lanka.

  • EAST ASIA: Dry, mild weather promoted corn and soybean harvesting in northeastern China, although a brief period of rain (10-25 mm) early in the week caused minor delays, predominantly in Liaoning. Farther south, light showers (1-10 mm) prevailed for most of the week in Hebei and Shandong, while heavier showers (10-35 mm) occurred in Hunan and Anhui. The rainfall provided favorable establishment moisture for recently planted winter wheat but caused summer crop (corn and cotton) harvesting delays where the highest totals occurred. Similarly, rainfall (10-25 mm) in the eastern Yangtze Valley favored emerging winter rapeseed, although there were some fieldworks delays in western portions from upwards of 75 mm of rain. In southeastern China, dry weather facilitated planting of winter vegetables and other minor crops.

  • SOUTHEAST ASIA: Typhoon Krosa cut a path across the far northern Philippines late in the week. Krosa brought high winds (90 knots, sustained) but only very localized heavy rainfall (300 mm) due to its location in far northern Luzon; most of the Philippines received less than 100 mm for the week. Crop impacts were likely also localized (mostly rice and corn that was ready for harvesting). Krosa intensified (100 knot sustained winds) briefly as it moved offshore and into the South China Sea but was beginning to dissipate as it approached central Vietnam (more information will appear in next week’s Bulletin). In advance of Krosa, seasonably dry weather prevailed across Indochina, benefiting rice harvesting. Meanwhile, showers (30-100 mm) increased soil moisture for oil palm in Malaysia and Indochina, while slowing harvesting. In addition, showers were increasing in Java, Indonesia, where upwards of 75 mm of rain in the west encouraged rice transplanting activities. The rainy season typically begins in the remainder of Java in late November.

  • AUSTRALIA: In western and southeastern Australia, very warm, mostly dry weather favored wheat, barley, and canola maturation and harvesting. Showers (5-10 mm) were confined primarily to southern Victoria, which may have aided later maturing winter crops but likely had little impact on the bulk of the winter grains and oilseeds. In northern New South Wales and extreme southern Queensland, mostly dry, seasonably warm weather favored rapid winter wheat harvesting but increased irrigation requirements for recently sown summer crops. In central Queensland, widespread showers (5-25 mm) boosted topsoil moisture for cotton and sorghum germination and emergence. Temperatures in southern and eastern Australia averaged near normal, while in Western Australia temperatures averaged 1 to 2°C above normal.

  • SOUTH AFRICA: Showers maintained favorable planting prospects in eastern sections of the corn belt. Rainfall totaled 10 to 50 mm in the main production areas of Mpumalanga, Gauteng, and eastern Free State, with higher amounts (exceeding 50 mm) in northern Mpumalanga and southern Limpopo. Seasonably warm weather (daytime highs in the middle and upper 20s degrees C) that accompanied the rainfall favored emergence. Rainfall decreased toward the west, with little to no rain falling in central sections of North West and Free State; farmers in these areas typically plant summer crops during December as moisture becomes available. Somewhat warmer conditions (daytime highs in the lower 30s) accompanied the dryness in North West and Free State, promoting winter wheat growth after last week’s rain. Elsewhere, locally heavy rain (25-100 mm) increased moisture for sugarcane in major production areas of KwaZulu-Natal and eastern Mpumalanga. Lighter amounts (5-25 mm, in most locations) swept across the southern coast, giving a late-season boost in moisture to winter crops in Western Cape.

  • ARGENTINA: Heavy rain provided a much-needed boost in soil moisture. Rainfall totaled 50 to 100 mm across a broad area stretching from northern Buenos Aires to eastern Formosa, encompassing most major summer production areas in between, extending as far west as San Luis. Most other areas recorded at least 25 mm, the exception being the southern production areas of La Pampa and Buenos Aires, where drier conditions prevailed. For Cordoba and other key western farming areas, it was the heaviest rain of the season, helping to recharge topsoil moisture for germination and establishment of summer grains and oilseeds. Weekly temperatures averaged near to slightly above normal (daytime highs from the middle 20s to lower 30s degrees C) in central Argentina and more than 3°C above normal (daytime highs exceeding 40°C) in the northwest from Santiago del Estero to Jujuy, spurring development of winter wheat and emerging summer crops. According to Argentina’s Ministry of Agriculture, corn and sunflowers were 31 and 55 percent planted, respectively, as of October 31, continuing to lag last year’s pace. In Cordoba, where dry weather has delayed fieldwork, corn was only 17 percent planted versus 50 percent last year.

  • BRAZIL: Beneficial rain continued in the main soybean and cotton production areas of central Brazil, maintaining overall favorable crop prospects. Rainfall totaled 25 to more than 100 mm throughout the Center-West Region (Mato Grosso, Goias, and Mato Grosso do Sul) and neighboring portions of the northeastern interior (Tocantins and southwestern Maranhao) but drier conditions returned to farming areas in the vicinity of western Bahia. Weekly temperatures averaged 1 to 2°C above normal (daytime highs mostly in the middle 30s degrees C) promoting rapid development of well-watered crops. Elsewhere, mostly dry weather dominated major corn and soybean areas of southern Brazil (Sao Paulo to northern Rio Grande do Sul), spurring fieldwork — including summer plantings and harvesting of sugarcane — following last week’s rainfall. Light showers (5-25 mm) boosted moisture for coffee in southern Minas Gerais, although amounts were below normal. Weekly temperatures averaged near to slightly above normal throughout the south, with daytime highs in the upper 20s and lower 30s. Light rain (locally exceeding 25 mm) fell along the northeastern coast, giving a late boost to sugarcane and cocoa irrigation reserves.

  • MEXICO: Drier weather brought some relief from recent weeks of inundating tropical showers. Little to no rain fell along the southern Pacific Coast, which experienced additional flooding from the near passage of Hurricane Raymond. Moderate to heavy rain (10 to 50 mm) lingered along the western Gulf Coast (Tamaulipas to Tabasco), although amounts were well below those recorded last week. Showers were also scattered throughout the southeast (Chiapas to Yucatan). Warm weather (daytime highs in the lower 30s degrees C) accompanied the drier conditions in the aforementioned areas, advancing rain-fed summer crops toward maturation. Mostly dry, unseasonably warm weather also benefited late-season development of summer crops on the southern plateau. Warmth and dryness also dominated northern Mexico for much of the week, although showers developed toward the end of the period as Tropical Storm Sonia approached the western coast (additional information will appear in next week’s Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin).


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