South America Calling

What's in Store for Brazil's Safrinha Corn Crop This Week?

Temperatures will warm up through the rest of this week across southern Brazil, with temperatures expected to approach 6-8 degrees Celsius (or 10-14 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal in some areas of southern Brazil. (DTN graphic)

The recent crop progress report out of Brazil shows stark contrast amongst states' progress on safrinha (second-season) corn harvest. Conab, Brazil's food supply and statistics agency, showed the state of Mato Grosso, in central Brazil, has 67.7% of its corn harvested as of July 15. On the other hand, Parana, in southern Brazil, only has 4% of its corn harvested. While some of this contrast in progress is due to recent weather, most of it stems from the wet conditions around planting time that pushed back planting dates for states in southern Brazil. This week, the forecast for Brazil shows climbing temperatures and light, scattered rain showers. For those who see more rainfall this week, it could mean more setbacks in the corn harvest ahead.

If we rewind to last week, a strong low-pressure system moved through southern Brazil during the middle of the week and dumped 50-100 millimeters (mm), or 2-4 inches, of rain across southern Parana and Rio Grande Do Sul. But farther north, in states such as Mato Grosso and São Paulo, less than 25 mm (or less than 1 inch) of rain fell from July 10-16. After these heavy rains hit southern Brazil, they got hit by a cold airmass that expanded north from northern Argentina which posed a risk for frost.

DTN Ag Meteorologist John Baranick discussed the frost risk here: https://www.dtnpf.com/…. Low temperatures approached 32 degrees Fahrenheit this past weekend in southern Brazil, but no widespread frost was reported.

Looking ahead to the forecast for the rest of this week, rising temperatures aren't the only thing in store, as scattered rain showers are forecast across Sao Paulo and Parana through Wednesday. From Tuesday to Wednesday, forecast rainfall in these two states will remain under 0.60 inch. By Thursday, scattered showers will develop across Rio Grande Do Sul, with up to 0.40 inch of rain forecast across the state during the day on Thursday. After Thursday, mostly dry conditions are forecast to return for southern Brazil through the upcoming weekend. The forecast rainfall through Thursday could certainly lead to more slowdowns for corn that is ready to be harvested.

But with the coverage of rain showers looking scattered, some farmers may still be able to get out into the fields and make some headway.

In contrast to states in southern Brazil, central Brazil continues to make steady progress in its harvest of safrinha corn. For example, Mato Grosso had 51.6% of its corn harvested on July 8 and by July 15, 67.7% of its corn was harvested. The steady pace is due to the overall dry conditions and near- to slightly above-normal temperatures they have experienced over the past few weeks. While they are still behind 2022's progress levels, the forecast precipitation during the next seven days for central Brazil states is minimal and they should be left with mostly dry conditions to continue making progress.

As for temperatures this week, the cold airmass across northern Argentina and southern Brazil will erode on Wednesday with a swift return of above-normal temperatures for these same regions by Friday.

So just how warm will it get? Both the American GFS model and the European ECMWF model agree that temperatures will generally rise to 6-8 degrees C (or 10-14 degrees F) above normal in Rio Grande Do Sul by Saturday. Rio Grande Do Sul will likely see the highest temperatures during the next week, but at the very least, these warmer conditions will greatly reduce the risk for more frost, leaving producers with one less thing to worry about as the corn harvest ramps up.

While there is certainly a change in tune from last week's weather pattern to this week's weather in southern Brazil, there is still much progress to be made in the corn harvest across states such as Sao Paulo and Parana. While they will have some showers to dodge through the middle of the week, the warmer weather should help soils dry out a bit more, especially for those who saw heavy rain last week.

Meanwhile, central Brazil will likely continue to make steady progress on its corn harvest during the next week with near- to above-normal temperatures and little to no precipitation in the forecast.

To find more international weather conditions and your local forecast from DTN, visit https://www.dtnpf.com/….

Teresa Deutchman can be reached at teresa.deutchman@dtn.com

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