South America Calling

Soaking Rains Limited for Brazil and Argentina

John Baranick
By  John Baranick , DTN Meteorologist
DTN forecast summer/wet season rainfall from December to February is expected to be below normal for most of Brazil and Argentina. (DTN graphic)

The wet season has started for central Brazil. Scattered showers have been in the area since Oct. 10, allowing corn and soybean planting to finally start in the region, approximately two weeks behind the normal pace.

The forecast calls for showers to remain in the area during the next 10 days, but the focus on more consistent and heavier precipitation (greater than 50 millimeters or about 2 inches) will likely be found in a band from southern Mato Grosso to Minas Gerais.

This will leave both northern and southern sections of the growing regions with more limited prospects on total moisture for corn and soybean planting. Coming out of the dry season, more than the forecast amounts are necessary to ensure proper seed-to-soil contact and emergence.

Argentina looks somewhat similar. After months of below-normal precipitation for much of the country, producers need more soil moisture for germination. Cordoba has been the worst hit by drought as showers have generally formed around the state through the winter and early spring. The state has seen only 13% of its expected corn planted according to the government of Argentina.

Like Brazil, showers are expected across Argentina over the next 10 days. However, the soaking rains of greater than 50 mm (around 2 inches) will come in a narrower band from Santiago del Estero southeast to Uruguay. This may include northern portions of Cordoba as well, but areas to the north and south of the band are still praying for more moisture as planting progresses more slowly.

Looking further down the road, the La Nina picture sure shapes up to have a likely negative impact on the summer growing season in South America. Drier-than-normal precipitation is forecast by DTN over all of Argentina, as well as southern and northeast Brazil.

In contrast, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, and regions southeast to the coast are forecast to have near normal precipitation.

This is a typical rainfall pattern under La Nina and one that looks concerning for most producers on the continent.

La Nina is the cold phase of a periodic fluctuation in temperature between the ocean and atmosphere in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean.

Coupled with a late start to the wet season, producers will likely feel the crunch of a shortened and drier wet season. Second-crop corn and cotton will also show more limited yields under this forecast.

John Baranick can be reached at


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