Farmers 'Very Apprehensive' in Southern Brazil

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    Ample rainfall earlier this fall had Brazil's corn and soybean crops off to a great start. Now, the tap's been shut off and temperatures are trending "way above average," according to Luana Gomes, an ag reporter from Gazeta do Povo, a newspaper in the Parana state of Brazil (photos by Hugo Harada, Gazeta do Povo).

  • 02

    Some fields in Parana, like this one, were planted early and got good rainfall, Gomes says. "Farmers are very apprehensive. Parana was off to a very good start early in the season, with plenty of rains and adequate soil temps," she adds.

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    That's changed quickly. "Rains ceased and temperatures were way above average. In some areas in northern Parana, seeds were literally frying in the soil," Gomes says, adding many farmers are pinning hopes of a crop recovery on a wetter forecast.

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    Some fields will need to be replanted on account of the recent hot, dry spell that was most severe from about mid-October up to nearly the end of the month. "Those [farmers] who were most hurt by the dry, hot weather are still evaluating the need to replant, whether or not it is really worth the extra costs, considering the lower soybean prices," Gomes says.

  • 05

    Despite the drydown and trouble it's causing for the young corn and soybean crops, the planting window hasn't closed yet; Gomes says farmers are about 40% done planting soybeans, slightly ahead of the normal pace. "We're still in the optimal planting window. In fact, fieldwork is actually ahead of the normal pace in Parana," she says.

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    Farmers do remain optimistic, though; between having plenty of time left in planting season and a return to more normal weather conditions, Gomes says farmers aren't giving up yet. "Most farmers have resumed fieldwork now," she says. "Temperatures have dropped dramatically, which is good."

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    Meanwhile, wheat farmers continue to make good progress with harvest in Parana and around South America. That progress may slow, though, with rain returning to a good chunk of South America, according to MDA Weather Services ag meteorologist Don Keeney.

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    But, the corn and soybean crops will benefit immensely from returning moisture. "The rains should finally improve moisture for corn and soybeans, and will allow germination and early growth to improve. Additional rains are expected in the 6- to 10-day period, mainly in northwestern and northeastern areas," Keeney says.

A recent tour around the Parana state of Brazil reveals weather has farmers nervous about crop potential.

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