Can good crop weather continue in South America?
The improvement that we have seen in growing conditions in Argentina over the past two to three weeks really is remarkable. This is an area that endured a lot of drier-than-normal weather for late last year and for the first half of January, and there was some pretty extreme heat at times as well (recall the 108 degree high that we saw in late December in some of their key corn areas). That dryness and heat was severe enough and lasted long enough where size of the Argentine corn crop will be below normal this year, but at least it has not gotten any worse given the rains that fell from late January through the first eight days of this month.
Rains from Sunday night through Monday night of this week brought rains so far this month to more than an inch across basically all of the main Argentine soybean belt, with extremes to over five inches. Given the time of year that it is (early February in Argentina equates to early August in the Midwest, and we all know how important August weather is for soybean production!), this rain has really added a lot of production potential to the Argentine soybean crop. But can it continue?
It will be drying out in Argentina for today, and frankly it is difficult to tell when it is going to rain again. With La Nina still raging in the Pacific Ocean, one wonders if this is a return to a dry weather pattern that might last through March (which is an important month for their double-crop soybean acreage) and still be enough to put a damper on soybean production prospects.
Conditions remain very good for growing soybeans in Brazil. Key southern growing areas like the state of Rio Grande do Sul saw better than an inch of rain over the weekend, and most of those same spots saw better than an inch of rain overnight. In northern Brazil there is crop ready to be harvested, but so far this month of February has not brought rain heavy enough in that area to seriously impede early harvesting efforts.
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