South America Calling

Brazil's Parana Corn Hit by Successive Frosts

A series of frosts hit second-crop corn across the Brazilian state of Parana over the weekend, potentially seriously damaging the crop.

According to the agricultural secretariat at the No. 1 corn state, at least 70% of the crop has been hit, with the top-producing west of the state perhaps seeing the biggest losses.

Thermometers dropped below zero degrees Celsius around dawn in the center, south and west of the state on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, reaching minus 5 degrees in parts of the south, according to Simepar, the Parana state weather service.

Across the whole state, temperatures dropped below 3 degrees, the minimum for frost to occur.

State agronomists on Monday morning were compiling data on the impact of the cold snap.

In the west, cold mornings on Thursday and Friday didn't cause much damage, but the sub-zero conditions on Saturday and Sunday may have really hurt the crop, according to Mario Lucio Melo, head agronomist at the Coopavel cooperative, based in Cascavel.

Up until Friday, the losses were around 3% to 4%, but that figure could rise substantially after the weekend, Melo told DTN.

The extent of the damage will only become clearer over the next couple of days, says Melo, who estimates approximately 40% of the region's crop is at risk.

Parana planted approximately 5.4 million acres of second-crop corn in 2016. Of that total, about half is in key reproducing phases, making it susceptible to frost. Of that corn, half is in the central, southern and western areas that were hit hardest by frost, according to the state agricultural secretariat.

Parana is pegged to produce around 16 million metric tons of second-crop corn this year.

The outlook for the Brazilian second-crop corn has already been slashed following dry weather in Mato Grosso and the rest of the center-west. As a result, Brazil won't be able to export 30 mmt in 2016, as originally forecast, and latest reports peg shipments at 21-25 mmt.

The good news for farmers is that the weather is due to warm up in the coming days.

(AG)

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