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Weather focus on South America

10/10/2011 @ 10:35am

We are in the middle of the harvest season here in the United States, which means that the planting season is getting underway in South America for Brazil and Argentina. 

Both of those countries were lacking in soil moisture coming into this month, but both areas have seen an improvement in that situation here in the first ten days of October. Rains in Argentina over this past week (biggest for the 24-hour period ending this past Friday) were over an inch everywhere, were commonly on the order of two to three inches, and at one spot were more than five inches. That should be providing a nice boost to their winter wheat crop (which is heading right now) and also is providing a nice increase in soil moisture for corn planting (which began in September and lasts through November; most of the soybeans are planted in November and December).




In Brazil, rains in most areas are running above normal for the first ten days of the month, and include widespread rains of over an inch in their southern growing areas over the weekend. This is going to be a wet work- week period for all major agricultural areas of Brazil, with everyone getting a least an inch of rain but totals more on the order of two to as much as four inches in southern parts of Mato Grosso, Goias, and Minas Gerais; as well as much of Sao Paulo, Parana, Mato Grosso do Sul, and eastern Paraguay. 

That is great rain for a Brazilian coffee crop that is now in the flowering stage, and also is very beneficial moisture for soybean planting operations that are really starting to move forward quickly for central and northern areas (southern areas plant most of their soybeans in November and December). 

Additional rains in Argentina this week will be substantial as well, but will be confined to just extreme southwestern growing areas (i.e. about the southwestern half of Buenos Aires and into La Pampa). 

Longer term, one has to be alert to the possibility of crop problems in Argentina due to the presence of La Nina again (their corn and soybean crops were hurt to some extent last year due to heat and dryness, and that was also a year with La Nina). Many believe that Brazil has crop problems during La Nina years as well, but a close look at historical soybean yields shows that the opposite is actually the case (something that verified last year, when a La Nina produced a record- setting national soybean yield in Brazil).

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