High pressure aloft currently dominates much of the Brazilian soybean belt except Rio Grande do Sul, promoting above normal temperatures and below normal rainfall. Current indications are that the ridge will weaken enough over the weekend to allow for some scattered light to moderate showers and thunderstorms with locally heavier in Parana and central Brazil, along with more moderate temperatures.
However, the ridge is expected to strengthen again next week with a return to above normal temperatures and below normal rainfall. This pattern continues to have the potential to be one of the more significant drought patterns for Brazil in a number of years. This is due to the fact that it is encompassing so much of the soybean belt.
Another aspect of the Brazilian drought that will begin to get more attention is what happens to the safrinha corn crop. If the drought persists, soil moisture levels could be quite low heading into the Southern Hemisphere fall season. This would have a major impact on safrinha corn, which depends on abundant rainfall prior to the dry season setting in.
Farther south, drier weather would benefit developing corn and soybeans in Argentina. Favorably drier weather is expected from late this week through early next week before the potential for wet weather returns.
In the eastern Pacific Ocean, our latest calculation of the sea surface for the first half of January 2019 is 0.9 degree Celsius above normal. This is down from the 1.5 degrees C observed during the month of December 2018, but still within El Nino levels. The threshold for El Nino sea surface temperature departure from normal is 0.5 degrees C above normal.
We continue to see an El Nino signature in the weather patterns over both the U.S. and South America, with stormy weather in the south-central and eastern U.S., including the southern and eastern Midwest, along with the wet weather in Argentina.
Mike Palmerino can be reached at Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org
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