This blog space noted back on Dec. 1 that showers were set to return to central Brazil after a week or so of dryness. Model solutions included widespread 50 to 100 millimeters (roughly 2 to 4 inches) potential rainfall for Mato Grosso to Minas Gerais. The forecast did verify, but coverage was more scattered than widespread. Many areas did see that 50-100 mm, but some did not.
In fact, many areas saw less than 30 mm (about 1.2 inches) of rainfall. Amounts that low may only keep up with demand and will certainly not fill the soil profile which still is rather dry.
Most of the primary crop areas in Brazil are running behind normal for the year. Over the last 60 days, models estimate that the country is generally behind by 50-200 mm (roughly 2 to 8 inches) with the driest sections in and around Mato Grosso, the country's largest producer of soybeans. Satellite estimates show almost the entire country outside of a few pockets having insufficient soil moisture as of Dec. 6, though it should be noted that good rainfall has occurred since that date.
On balance, the short-term offers some rain for central Brazil including Mato Grosso and the surrounding areas. These showers should last into Dec. 14 before they may become more isolated. The isolated nature may only last a few days next week before becoming more scattered like normal.
After heavy rain last week, southern areas of Brazil have been dry this week. That may change as well. A couple of frontal systems will work north through Argentina, with showers increasing as the fronts move into Rio Grande do Sul, Parana, and Mato Grosso do Sul. A total of three of these look to happen through Dec. 17 before showers move back farther north into central Brazil. In this time frame, models are putting out widespread 30-60 mm (1.2-2.5 inches) of rainfall. Again, that probably will not be enough to create reserves in the soil profile for most areas, but it should be enough to sustain crops for another week.
Beyond that, models indicate the typical La Nina pattern may return through the end of the month. This is associated with close-to-normal precipitation over central Brazil, but below-normal precipitation in southern Brazil and Argentina. Should this take shape, stress will likely intensify for crops in reproduction over southern Brazil and those entering reproduction in Argentina. However, this would be more favorable for central Brazil corn and soybeans moving further into reproduction.
John Baranick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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