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Will rains benefit S.A. crops?

Jeff Caldwell 03/02/2012 @ 9:34am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Despite reports showing suffering corn and soybean crops in parts of South America, rains have fallen over the last 2 days, and that's got some of that region's leaders sounding optimistic about their crop prospects despite the damage that's been done by severe La Nina-driven drought throughout this growing season.

Rains have fallen in the southern soybean-rich areas of Brazil and eastern Paraguay, according to Freese-Notis Weather, Inc., with some local amounts in excess of 3 inches. And, while the rain will probably shut off in those areas over the next few days, fields further north could see more much-needed rain.

"Best chances for additional rain the next few will shift northward to the far northern part of the Paraguay growing area sections of Mato Grosso do Sul, Parana, & Sao Paulo in Brazil," according to Freese-Notis. "Some 0.25-1.00 inch rainfall is forecast in these areas. Longer term nearly of the main growing areas of eastern Paraguay and Brazil will have below normal rainfall for the 6-10 day period."

The moisture will need to continue, though, if it's to be of much benefit to Brazil's crops, namely its corn, according to Friday morning's Commodity Weather Group (CWG) outlook.

"A few 11 to 15 day showers may develop in southern and scattered northern parts of the belt, but central and northeastern Brazil will need wetter weather very soon after the forecast period to prevent a rapid expansion of dryness concerns to 1/2 of the winter corn and up to 3/4 of the coffee. Stress is currently limited to about 20% of winter corn given recent showers," according to CWG. "[This week's] showers should shift around enough to limit concerns for damage to unharvested corn, but fieldwork will slow. The moisture will aid double-crop soybean yields."

Despite this lingering need for more moisture, some leaders say the crops are yielding surprisingly well. Argentine president Cristina Kirchner said Thursday her nation's crops are looking "very good," according to reports from government technicians sent to the field to tally yields. Kirchner adds that Argentina's on track to raise a 22-million-metric-ton corn crop and about 48 million metric tons of soybeans this year, according to a Dow Jones Newswires report.

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