Frosts last week have been yet another weather event to cause production issues for safrinha (second season) corn. Late planting, dry weather, and the frosts have all hindered crop development during the season. The dry weather has been rather brutal as the dry season started just after planting was finishing, leading to a rough stretch for corn producers.
Governmental and private estimates for corn production have steadily dropped with each issuance, and the frosts that occurred last week continued that trend. It seems that total corn production is on a collision course with near 90 million metric tons or possibly less, well-below estimates of near 110 million metric tons that the USDA was forecasting back in March.
CONAB's latest estimate of 93.4 mmt, which is approximately 3 mmt below its previous estimate, is likely pre-frost conditions, which would send production even lower.
The next week continues the dry trend as nearly no precipitation is forecast through July 13. A front may move through July 14-15 with a slow progression northward late next week and weekend. Being more than a week out, this is something more to watch for instead of count on. Amounts look like less than 25 millimeters (1 inch) anyway. For an area that is already 100-200 mm (roughly 4 to 8 inches) behind during the last two months, the rainfall will not make much of a difference.
And, this rainfall is coming too late for most of the crop anyway. Most of the crop has reached the fill or mature stage with only minimal amounts left still in reproduction.
Estimates from Parana, the second-largest producer of safrinha corn in Brazil, are that just 11% of the crop is still in reproduction with the rest heading from grain fill into maturity. That small percentage has already been wrecked by frosts last week and though rain would still help, it might be moot.
Wheat, in contrast, is doing much better. Rainfall has not been as detrimental in Argentina, and southern Brazil is still faring fairly in Rio Grande do Sul, though areas off to the north need rain. Lower temperatures, despite the frosty conditions, have allowed slower evapotranspiration, and kept soil moisture mostly at optimal levels for most areas.
Shower chances over southern Argentina through July 12 will only add to the moisture supply while temperatures above normal will help with growth.
John Baranick can be reached at email@example.com
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