Back
April 24, 2018

Dryer Weather in Southern Brazil could Impact Safrinha Corn

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

The weather last week in Brazil was wet once again in central Brazil but generally dry in southern Brazil. The forecast looks dryer for all of Brazil and especially in southern Brazil. Dryer weather in Brazil at this time of the year is very common. The summer rainy season typically ends in early May. I say typically because four of the last five years the rains continued until early June. You never quite know when the dry season has started until it hasn't rained for several weeks.

With dryer weather moving into Brazil, there is more emphasis now on how the weather might impact the safrinha corn. The safrinha corn is doing very well in Mato Grosso, northern Mato Grosso do Sul, Goias, Minas Gerais, and northern Sao Paulo. In contrast, the safrinha corn needs rain in Parana, southern Mato Grosso do Sul, and southern Sao Paulo.

I would estimate that approximately 65% to 70% of the safrinha corn in Brazil is in good condition and that 30% to 35% of the safrinha corn is in various stages of needing a rain.

The weather in central Brazil is forecasted to get dryer, but there is still adequate soil moisture to sustain the crop for several more weeks. The most advanced safrinha corn in central Brazil is in mid-grain fill and the most delayed safrinha corn in central Brazil is 3-4 feet tall. The most advanced safrinha corn in central Brazil will do fine even if the weather now turns dryer. The most delayed safrinha corn in central Brazil will need additional rains to achieve its yield potential.

In contrast, the situation in Parana is much different. Farmers in Parana finished planting their safrinha corn after the ideal planting window had closed and now it has been over three weeks since the last rain in western Parana and there is very little rainfall in the forecast. Approximately 40% of the corn in Parana is in the reproductive stage. The farmers in the region are worried that if it doesn't start raining very soon, the safrinha corn could quickly develop moisture stress. Unfortunately, there is very little rainfall in the forecast. The situation is similar for the safrinha corn in southern Mato Grosso do Sul

It was also very cold in southern Brazil last week with record low temperatures in numerous locations. There were several nights where there were frosts in the higher elevations of southern Brazil. There were no frost in the safrinha corn areas, but this is the third "near miss" of frost in southern Brazil over the past two months. The forecast is calling for warmer temperatures in southern Brazil, so it looks like the threat of frost is passed, at least for now. As of April 16th, the safrinha corn in Parana was 74% in vegetative development, 23% pollinating, and 3% filling grain. At that point, the crop was still rated 98% good, but that will decline as the dryness persists.

The safrinha corn in Parana will not finish pollinating until about mid-May, so any frost before about early June would negatively impact the safrinha corn in Parana and southern Mato Grosso do Sul.