South America Calling

Brazil's Groundhog Day

John Baranick
By  John Baranick , DTN Meteorologist
Yet another system is on tap to bring showers to northern Argentina and southern Brazil in the next seven days. (DTN graphic)

Precipitation last week, like many of the last several weeks, has been confined to southern growing areas of Brazil. Scattered showers last week produced estimates of 15 to 40 millimeters (0.6 to 1.6 inches) of rainfall from Parana to Rio Grande do Sul. The rainfall was not consistent enough for some areas of western Parana, however.

Almost no precipitation was recorded farther north while temperatures remained well-above normal, causing stress and damage to reproductive to filling corn. The region is starting to lose out on the beneficial aspects of rainfall as the crop continues to race through development. By mid-June, yields may be set in stone. Rainfall will still be helpful, but not for long.

Looking ahead at the forecast makes it look almost like "Groundhog Day". If you recall that famous film, Bill Murray's character saw the same day replay over and over again, despite his best efforts to change the future. The forecast charts are doing their best to remake the film.

Time and time again, systems are forming in Argentina and moving into southern Brazil, producing widespread moderate showers. And time and time again, as the front approaches the border of Mato Grosso do Sul and Mato Grosso and points southeast, the showers dry up.

Yet another system is set to follow the same path. A front hanging around northern Argentina and Rio Grande do Sul will be picked up by a system moving through Argentina June 5 and will move back to the north into Parana June 6. There, the front will stall out. Rainfall amounts, again, of 15 to 40 mm (0.6 to 1.6 inches) are forecast over these areas into early next week before the front fizzles out.

But Murray eventually got out of his endless time loop. He awoke on Feb. 3 a changed man. Do models have a different outcome? They are going to do their best. The fizzled front from earlier in the week will be picked up by another system late next week. This system may push the front farther north into Mato Grosso, Goias, and Minas Gerais to end the week. But the shower potential is still lack-luster. A saying I have grown fond of -- "when in drought, leave it out" -- works best for this situation. And although models hint at some showers, we should remain skeptical.

Additionally, even if the showers do come, we are getting into the middle of June with this rainfall chance. For much of the crop, it will be too late and only provide minimal benefit to late-planted corn. Earlier planted corn would likely see no improvement.

John Baranick can be reached at


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