USDA: Seasonal Rains Recharging Brazilian Soils

September 11, 2013 02:57 AM



The following global crop and weather highlights from USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility are a helpful snapshot of global conditions:

  • EUROPE: Dry weather across central and southern Europe contrasted with increasingly wet conditions in northeastern growing areas. An area of high pressure provided sunny skies and above-normal temperatures from northern France and southeastern England into Italy and the Balkans. Consequently, summer crop drydown and harvesting proceeded without delay, while producers were also able to sow winter grains and oilseeds following last week’s favorable rain. Meanwhile, a strong cold front generated 10 to 25 mm of rain in northeastern Europe, hampering fieldwork but boosting soil moisture for winter crops. Showers (2-30 mm) across western Europe briefly slowed corn and sunflower maturation in southwestern France. However, late-summer heat (30-35°C) increased evaporation rates in France, Germany, southeastern United Kingdom, and the Low Countries, thereby mitigating the impacts of the rain in the south and improving grain quality in northern areas. Rain continued to slow late small grain harvesting in northern portions of the United Kingdom, where fieldwork delays persists.

  • FSU-WESTERN: A stationary storm brought widespread, locally heavy rain to most of the region. The storm, which stalled over the southwestern Volga District before drifting northeast, produced heavy downpours (50-90 mm) across central and northern portions of the Central and Volga Districts, while light to moderate showers (10-30 mm) fell across the rest of the region. The rainfall was especially welcomed in eastern Ukraine and southern Russia, where concerns over planting moisture for winter wheat were alleviated. However, the rain hampered summer crop maturation and harvesting, particularly in central and northern portions of western Russia. Rainfall was somewhat lighter in south-central Ukraine, where totals were mostly less than 10 mm. In Moldova, generally dry weather promoted corn drydown and harvesting. Temperatures averaged up to 4°C below normal across the western half of the region, while warmer-than-normal conditions in the Volga District accelerated small grain drydown prior to the storm’s arrival.

  • FSU-EASTERN: Dry, warmer-than-normal weather promoted maturation and harvesting across the entire region. In Kazakhstan and neighboring portions of Russia, sunny skies and increasingly warm weather (up to 4°C above normal, with highs reaching 30°C) accelerated spring wheat drydown and harvesting. Farther south, cotton maturation and harvesting from Turkmenistan into Kyrgyzstan proceeded without delay.

  • MIDDLE EAST: Dry weather promoted fieldwork across much of the region, although early rain developed in the north. A cold front triggered light to moderate showers (2-30 mm, locally more) across central and northern Turkey, providing early season soil moisture for winter wheat planting and establishment. Across the rest of the region, seasonably dry conditions promoted summer crop maturation and harvesting.

  • SOUTH ASIA: Monsoon showers retreated from much of western India as rainfall was concentrated in rice areas of eastern India, where 25 to over 200 mm of rain maintained favorable moisture supplies. In particular, the highest rainfall totals for the week were recorded in Bihar, reducing the seasonal (since June 1) rainfall deficit; rainfall for the season remained well below normal, however. In southern India, increasing rainfall (50-150 mm) boosted soil moisture and irrigation supplies for rabi cotton, groundnuts, and rice. With the retreat of showers in western India, dry weather benefited filling soybeans in Madhya Pradesh that have experienced near-record wetness for the season. However, an early withdrawal of rain in Gujarat and Maharashtra reduced soil moisture for flowering cotton. In other parts of the region, rainfall (25-125 mm) maintained favorable moisture supplies for aman rice, while increasing showers (50-150 mm) in Sri Lanka facilitated maha rice transplanting. In Pakistan, seasonably dry weather aided cotton harvesting in Punjab and Sindh provinces.

  • EAST ASIA: Cooler weather slowed crop development in northern China, while showers boosted moisture supplies in the south. In northeastern China, brief periods of rain (1-10 mm, locally up to 50 mm) maintained favorable soil moisture for filling corn and soybeans, although weekly temperatures nearly 3°C below normal slowed development. Warmer weather would be prefered to extend what is typically a short growing season (particularly in Heilongjiang), which in turn would improve yield prospects. On the North China Plain however, recent dry weather benefited maturing cotton and groundnuts; some rain would be welcomed for corn in the early fill stage. Rainfall in China was generally confined to areas south of the Yangtze River, where upwards of 125 mm in key late-season rice areas benefited a crop that has experienced poor summer rainfall. In other parts of the region, dry weather across North Korea provided some relief from a season of persistent flooding, while also benefiting the start of rice harvesting across the bulk of the peninsula. Meanwhile, Tropical Cyclone Toraji brought more heavy rainfall (100-200 mm) to southern Japan, following Tropical Cyclone Kong-Rey which hit southern Japan the previous week. Showers (25-100 mm) were widespread across the country as the remnants of Toraji passed to the north, providing late-season moisture to immature rice. However, drier weather would be more preferable as rice harvesting begins.

  • SOUTHEAST ASIA: A spike in showers across Thailand brought 25 to over 100 mm of rain to rice and boosted reservoir levels. Monsoon rains have been generally favorable across the northeast and central regions of Thailand but have been consistently slightly below normal in the north, potentially reducing available irrigation water for the dry-season crop planted in January. In Vietnam, moisture conditions have been good for winter rice in the south, although persistent flooding in the north has likely caused localized damage to rice in the Red River Delta. Meanwhile in the Philippines, seasonable rainfall (25-50 mm) maintained beneficial moisture supplies for rice and corn, while somewhat drier weather provided limited relief to flooded areas in western Luzon. Elsewhere in the region, showers continued to increase in oil palm areas of Malaysia and Indonesia, where widespread amounts over 100 mm improved moisture conditions following the dry season.

  • AUSTRALIA: Across the wheat belt, many crops were in or nearing the moisture- and temperature-sensitive reproductive stages of development. In Western Australia, widespread, soaking rains (10-40 mm) continued to benefit wheat, barley, and canola, increasing yield potential. In contrast, very warm, mostly dry weather (less than 5 mm) overspread southeastern Australia, increasing evaporative losses and accelerating crop development. Farther north, unseasonably warm, dry weather persisted across northern New South Wales and southern Queensland, stressing wheat and other winter crops. Rain is needed soon in east-central Australia to help stabilize deteriorating crop conditions. Temperatures in southern and eastern Australia averaged 2 to 6°C above normal, with maximum temperatures approaching 30°C in some areas. In Western Australia, temperatures averaged 1 to 2°C above normal, with daytime highs generally in the middle 20s degrees C.

  • ARGENTINA: Warmer-than-normal weather fostered rapid development of winter grains throughout the region, although moisture remained limited in many areas for normal crop development. Weekly average temperatures were up to 4°C above normal in central Argentina (La Pampa, Buenos Aires, and southern sections of Cordoba, Santa Fe, and Entre Rios), with daytime highs reaching the lower 20s (degrees C) in southern farming areas and the lower 30s farther north. A mid-week cold snap dropped nighttime lows below freezing (-6 to 0°C) in southeastern Buenos Aires, but most other areas likely experienced only patchy frost. In contrast, weekly temperatures averaged 4 to 6°C above normal in Argentina’s northern agricultural areas, with daytime highs approaching 40°C and nighttime lows staying well above freezing. Dry weather dominated the country for much of the week; showers (5-25 mm) moved into Buenos Aires and — to a lesser extent — La Pampa, but a soaking rain was needed in most areas to ensure normal development of vegetative winter grains. According to Argentina’s Ministry of Agriculture, sunflower planting was underway in northern production areas, as were pre-planting activities for corn.

  • BRAZIL: Light showers overspread much of southern and central Brazil, keeping winter wheat unseasonably wet but providing timely moisture for summer crops. Rainfall totaled 5 to 25 mm over a large area extending from Rio Grande do Sul northward through Mato Grosso, and stretching northeastward into Minas Gerais. Though keeping maturing winter wheat unseasonably wet in some areas, the magnitude of the rain in Rio Grande do Sul was considerably diminished following recent weeks of potentially damaging storms. The rain in Minas Gerais was timely for coffee, which relies on September rainfall to trigger flowering. In Mato Grosso, however, the rain helped moisten topsoils for fieldwork in advance of soybean planting. Weekly temperatures averaged 1 to 2°C above normal throughout the region, with daytime highs on the sunny days ranging from the middle 20s (degrees C) to the middle and upper 30s in Mato Grosso. Elsewhere, seasonably dry weather continued in the northeastern interior, as mostly light rain (5-25 mm) lingered along the northeastern coast. Seasonal showers typically become established over the Center-West and northeastern interior regions (Mato Gross to western Bahia) by the latter half of September, marking the beginning of the soybean planting season.

  • MEXICO: Seasonal rains continued throughout Mexico, maintaining generally favorable conditions for rain-fed summer crops and helping to recharge reservoirs. Rainfall totaled 25 to 50 mm — with locally higher amounts — across the southern plateau corn belt (Jalisco to Puebla), where seasonable warmth (daytime highs in the middle and upper 20s degrees C) fostered summer crop growth in the absence of stressful heat. In addition, scattered, locally heavy showers (25-100 mm) continued along the southern Pacific Coast eastward through the Yucatan Peninsula. Heavy showers (greater than 50 mm) fell for a second week along the eastern Gulf Coast (Tamaulipas and Veracruz) as a tropical depression made landfall late in the week. Coming on the heels of Tropical Storm Fernand, this most recent tropical system maintained concerns for possible flood damage on crops (including sugarcane) and infrastructure. Meanwhile, monsoon showers continued in the northwest, with locally heavy showers (greater than 50 mm) observed from Nayarit to Sonora. Dry weather prevailed, however, in the northern interior, encompassing most of Chihuahua and Coahuila and northern portions of Durango. Weekly temperatures averaged near to above normal across northern Mexico, with daytime highs approaching 40°C in the traditionally warmest locations. The summer warmth maintained high moisture requirements for both crops and livestock.

  • CANADIAN PRAIRIES: Above-normal temperatures favored development of late-planted spring grains and oilseeds, but scattered, locally heavy showers overspread southern farming areas during the latter half of the week, slowing harvests. Weekly temperatures averaged 3 to 7°C above normal, with the highest temperatures related to normal occurring in the southwest (southern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan). Most locations recorded daytime highs in the lower and middle 30s (degrees C) on several days, the exception being Alberta’s Peace River Valley, where the highest temperatures were in the middle 20s. No widespread freeze was recorded, although patchy frost (temperatures approaching 0°C) was possible in outlying farming areas of Manitoba. Rain (5-50 mm) moved into the southwest during the latter part of the week, disrupting fieldwork and bringing temperatures down to more autumn-like levels (daytime highs in the middle and upper teens). Somewhat cooler weather also prevailed elsewhere on the Prairies, but continuing dryness favored fieldwork.

  • SOUTHEASTERN CANADA: Cooler weather, accompanied by scattered, generally light showers, slowed late-season development of summer crops and hampered autumn fieldwork. Weekly temperatures averaged 1°C below normal across the region, with daytime highs only occasionally reaching the middle 20s (degrees C). Although rainfall was generally lighter than the previous week, amounts totaling 5 to 25 mm maintained unfavorably damp conditions for crops and farm activities in some locations. However, moisture should be adequate for germination of winter wheat, which is currently being planted.


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