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Unlike The U.S. Harvest, Brazil’s Soybean Planting Season Sails Along
As harvest winds down across the Midwest, soybean planting continues to progress in South America and even wrap up in some areas.
The Corn Belt experienced soggy conditions during planting season, and it carried into harvest, too. Meanwhile, the Brazil and Argentina planting seasons, running from mid-October in some places to mid-February in parts of Argentina, have been plagued with drier conditions.
Fortunately for farmers in the northern Midwest and South America, the weather projects to lend itself to better conditions the next few weeks.
Argentina and Brazil
December marks the first summer month for the two South American countries with the seasons inverse from the U.S.
As summer arrives, Brazil checks in with 87% of its crop planted, according to AgRural. In Rio Grande do Sul, the southernmost state in Brazil that also borders Argentina, the completion rate of planting leapt 23% in a week, coming in at 82% overall.
Parts of Argentina and Brazil struggled with drier weather during the planting season, and AccuWeather meteorologist Dale Mohler forecasts a dry week followed by an uptick in rain soon.
“They’re maybe a little bit behind here and there on planting because in some areas it’s been a little dry and they’ve been waiting for some more rain,” Mohler says about Argentina. “A little bit of negative news for the farmers is that it looks fairly dry the rest of this week – just a couple scattered showers here and there, maybe a .25 inch to .75 inch but only about 50% coverage.”
Despite the relatively dry period this week, Mohler expects rain next week to help out farmers in the area.
“Next week starts out fairly dry, but there may be some scattered rains later on next week, so there could be some helpful rains there,” Mohler says.
Mohler says the projections have been fluid, and it’s hard to tell the totals and coverage of the rain. Mohler says .5 inch to 1 inch seems realistic, but some models are showing much lighter or much heavier forecasts as of December 3.
For coverage, the models also reveal inconsistent results. Mohler says some results show around 50% to 80% coverage, but the good news for farmers is the majority of Argentina should see rain.
Northern Corn Belt
Corn harvest continues to trudge along in northern states like the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
Whether it’s been rain, snow, mud, or wind, farmers in the region should be battle-tested from the 2019 season, but early December appears to ease up on farmers who are still in the field.
“This week looks pretty favorable – fairly dry,” Mohler says. “There is some snow on the ground in those places, however, it’s cold enough the ground is frozen or is freezing ... Just the fact that there’s not any new storms coming, at least not any big ones, there could be a little brush of light snow here and there, but no large storms this week is favorable. Next week there could be a few inches of snow early in the week in the northwest corner – North Dakota, Minnesota – and then it’s dry again later on next week.”
The USDA reports Wisconsin (66%), South Dakota (80%), North Dakota (36%), and Michigan (66%) all come in behind the corn harvest progress among the top 18 corn-producing states (89%) and behind each individual state’s five-year average.
While the outlook appears positive for the northern Corn Belt in terms of precipitation, concerns over the temperature persist.
With ground moisture as a concern, the ground freezing could promote harvest by allowing machinery in the fields without it sinking into the soft ground. If the temperature rises to the upper 30s or 40s, the ground could thaw out and produce unfavorable conditions with softness.
Mohler says the ground could fail to freeze consistently in the central and southern portions of the Midwest, but he expects the areas behind on harvest the most to stay frozen for the most part.
“It looks like the farther north you go is where it’s the worst [for harvest] like North Dakota, Wisconsin, over toward Michigan,” Mohler says. “I think those areas are far enough north that when it moderates a little bit, it doesn’t get all that warm. Maybe it gets to the mid-30s and maybe thaws for a few hours, but most of the time I think it’s below freezing in those areas. The thawing is farther south where they’ve completed things.”