Despite some moderate to heavy rain in central Brazil this past weekend, a pattern of limited rainfall and above-normal temperatures continues to affect filling soybeans over most crop areas.
High pressure aloft currently dominates much of the Brazilian soybean belt, promoting this dry and hot pattern. Indications are that this upper-level high will weaken enough early next week to allow scattered rains to form over most of the Brazilian soybean belt. Some of the activity could be moderate to heavy.
However, this pattern continues to be one of the more significant drought patterns over Brazil in a number of years. This is due to the fact that it is encompassing so much of the soybean belt. In fact, the hot and dry conditions have led to early soybean maturity and harvest progress well ahead of normal.
Farther south, Rio Grande do Sul, northeast Argentina and Paraguay, which had been experiencing near to above normal rainfall earlier this month, are now experiencing above-normal temperatures and below-normal rainfall. This is depleting soil moisture and increasing crop stress, with some crop losses now expected.
Due to the early soybean harvest in central Brazil, the planting of the safrinha corn crop is running well ahead of normal. This will be favorable if the rainy season resumes. However, 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.
This is a very unusual situation, as the typical Brazil weather concern this time of the year is that conditions are too wet, promoting soybean rust and delaying the soybean harvest. However, the state reporting the most cases of rust this year is the most southern state of Rio Grande do Sul. This may be unprecedented since the advent of soybean production in Brazil.
In central Argentina, the weather patterns are generally favorable for developing corn and soybeans, although some areas may be too wet. This is a less than ideal situation; but, compared to Brazil, Argentina is in much better shape.
Our next update on the eastern Pacific Ocean sea surface temperature departure from normal will be posted next week, covering the month of January.
Michael Palmerino can be reached at Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org
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