Ag Weather Forum

Possible Stress for South Brazil Soy

Bryce Anderson
By  Bryce Anderson , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
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This view of rain in southern Brazil since Jan. 1 shows many brown-colored areas -- indicating less than 50% of average rainfall -- right in the middle of soybean pod-filling. (USDA graphic)

We have written and spoken a lot about how the top soybean-producing state in Brazil, Mato Grosso (located in the northern half of the Brazil soybean belt) has seen its rainfall fortunes take a dramatic turn for the better over the past month. Mato Grosso produces close to a third (30%) of the Brazil soybean crop, so it stands to reason that weather events in Mato Grosso would merit a lot of attention.

However, all is not completely fine and dandy in Brazil in mid-January. And, as with any crop, rainfall is the reason for such a cautious assessment. For, as Mato Grosso in the northern part of Brazil farm country has turned wetter, southern Brazil -- particularly Rio Grande do Sul, the No.3 Brazil soybean producer -- has turned much drier.

Almost half of RGDS has had less than half the normal rainfall during the first two weeks of January. It must be pointed out that the southern part of Brazil was very wet during the first half of the growing season, so there has been some ample soil moisture. However, the soils in this part of Brazil are pretty sandy, so they don't hold excess moisture very well. In fact, there is some "slightly dry" type soil moisture assessment showing up in RGDS this week.

This change in southern Brazil rainfall fortunes will get close attention during the rest of January at least. Rio Grande do Sul is a very distant No. 3 in Brazil soybean production, with Mato Grosso by far the No. 1 producer, and the state of Parana in south-central Brazil at No. 2. But, the early-season dryness problems in Mato Grosso have already raised doubts about Brazil's soybean production being able to reach the 100-million-metric-ton level. Further dryness in RGDS could possibly shave that total even more.

Farther south, in Argentina, some midseason heat and dryness problems could also be forming. Daytime highs of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher are on the way for a large part of the major central farm belt during at least part of this weekend. Extended forecasts for Jan. 22 through Jan. 24 weekend call for temperatures to be near normal with mostly above-normal precipitation. This will be important for crops, with forecast updates looked at very closely before traders get back into action the evening of Jan. 18.

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