Dry weather concerns extend from South America into North America

Dryness in Argentina and southern Brazil and expanding drought in U.S. growing regions threaten yields in 2021.

As soybean and corn harvest activities accelerate across South America, and the favorable planting window for second-corn crop (safrinha) presents itself, the temperature and precipitation patterns become increasingly important. Spotty showers across parts of Brazil have slowed down harvest, thus delaying safrinha planting, while drier weather in southern Brazil and into Argentina have been favorable for harvest. However, WeatherTrends360 sees the prospect for dry weather continuing into March 2021, which does not bode well for immature crops and safrinha crops.

Across Brazil’s Central-West region, recent spotty showers have led to crop harvest delays as producers dodge hit-or-miss showers in the fields. Harvest delays subsequently delay safrinha planting. Late planting risks the safrinha crop entering critical pollination periods as the rainy season in Brazil comes to an end putting yields at risk.

Meanwhile, the southern third of Brazil and much of Argentina are entering a dry spell that is likely to last into March 2021. Dry and hot conditions will increase evapotranspiration rates with soil moisture running at a deficit across much of the region, especially in Argentina.

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According to data from WeatherTrends360, the last half of February and first few days of March will be the second to fifth driest in 30-plus years from Mato Grosso do Sul to Rio Grande do Sul with temperatures running warmer than normal. While dry weather is favorable for harvest, any immature crops and safrinha crop could suffer from dry and hot conditions.

While South America takes center-stage at this time of year, the extreme weather that has plagued the Central U.S. in mid-February cannot be ignored. While Southern areas saw record-breaking cold and snow, Northern areas have snowfall deficits. This winter has seen the least snow in 30 years for parts of the Northern Plains so far. Lack of snowpack combined with extreme cold raises concerns about winterkill for wheat and soil moisture heading into the spring planting season. A weak snowpack in the Northern Plains combined with widespread moderate drought conditions and projections from Weathertrends360 for growing drought conditions in the 2021 crop season suggest significant headwinds for growers in the upcoming season.

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