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Dry weather in North and South America threaten crop conditions

Commodity prices head upward as drought expands.

Unfavorable weather has put upward price pressure on soybean and grain markets over the past week with little relief in sight. The weather in growing regions of both the United States and Brazil presents significant risk to the health of crops, and those concerns will continue as we head into mid-May with below-normal precipitation expected.

Dry weather continues across a large portion of the Corn Belt in the second week of May 2021. According to data from WeatherTrends360, the week-ending May 16, 2021 will be the fourth driest in 30-plus years for the Corn Belt. However, if current forecasts for the week stay on track, there will actually be a pocket of above-normal precipitation from North Dakota to Minnesota.

North Dakota has been one of the hardest hit drought areas this year in the Corn Belt with topsoil moisture rated very short for 55% of the state, according to the USDA’s Crop Progress report issued May 3, 2021. Any rain will be welcome in this area, but in order to put a dent in drought conditions, which encompass most of the state, there will need to be a sustained pattern of wetter weather.


Dryness is also a concern south of the equator for Brazil’s safrinha crop. According to WeatherTrends360, the week-ending May 16 will be between the second and third driest in over 30 years for some of the major producing states, including Goiás and Mato Grosso. Since April 1, 2021, precipitation across Brazil has run well below normal from Goiás and south to Rio Grande do Sul.

Unfortunately, as we look to the second half of May, there doesn’t appear to be any substantial relief on the way with drier-than-normal conditions expected widely across the southern half of Brazil. Additionally, we’re moving closer to their dry season, and it is unlikely we’ll make up for current rainfall deficits anytime soon. For a look at the long-range forecast, go to



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