We continue to see a more normal rainy season established in central Brazil. The main question now will be: Can it be maintained long enough to support second-crop (safrinha) corn? Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures are cooling a bit, which seems to correspond to the wetter pattern. This development suggests a higher chance that this wetter pattern will continue into March.
Brazil's rains came too late for the record-large soybean crop projections to verify; however, the rainfall is beneficial to later-planted and later-developing soybeans. Harvest disruptions have also occurred; however, harvest began early, and is reportedly more than 70% complete in Mato Grosso, the largest soybean-producing state.
In Argentina, the weather pattern change has brought some hotter and drier conditions. This situation bears watching, as there are some indications that forecast rainfall over the weekend could be limited. This could be followed by another period of dry weather next week. With soybeans filling during the next few weeks this could become important. Some moderate to heavy rain did occur Wednesday night through early Thursday morning in southern Buenos Aires and La Pampa states.
Our latest calculation of the sea surface temperature departure in the equatorial eastern Pacific for the first half of February stands at 0.7 degree Celsius above normal. This is down from the 1.2 degrees Celsius above normal observed during the month of January, and is just over the 0.5 degree Celsius value which is the El Nino benchmark. Meanwhile, the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), the barometric ocean pressure feature calculated by the Australia Bureau of Meteorology, had a 30-day value of -10.45, and a 90-day value of -0.76, with a daily reading of -27.76, on Thursday February 21. The 30-day reading is in the El Nino range, while the 90-day reading is in the neutral range.
Mike Palmerino can be reached at Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org
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