South America Calling
Alastair Stewart South America Correspondent

Tuesday 02/04/14

Dry Weather Inhibits Second Corn Planting In Southern Brazil

The whole of Brazil is talking about the hot, dry weather that is chastising a large portion of this continental-sized country.

Various towns in the densely populated southeast registered the hottest January on record and only half the average rainfall. And little rain is forecast for the next two weeks, a fact that prompted New York coffee futures to register their biggest daily gain in 10 years yesterday and sugarcane farmers to fret about their crop.

In fact, soy is the only major crop not to be affected in a major way by the dry weather as Mato Grosso continues to get showers and January rains in Parana, Goias and most of Mato Grosso do Sul were sufficient to sustain plants during the sensitive flowering and pod-filling stages.

The forecasts for a dry February is a concern for farmers in the southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul and the northeast, where beans are planted later and on Monday AgRural, a local consultancy, warned that it may be forced to reduce its Brazil soy crop forecast of 88.8 million metric tons (mmt), if the hot, dry weather continues. But most analysts still expect a record crop of around 90 mmt.

But while the dry conditions in the southern state of Parana are facilitating soybean harvesting, which was about 5% complete as of Friday, it is limiting the planting of second-crop corn.

With rain only expected as of Feb. 15, farmers will have little time to plant as crops typically have to be in the ground before the end of February. Crops planted in March can't be financed or insured as the crop becomes susceptible to drought and frost in July.

Parana will plant 4.6 million acres of second-crop corn in 2013-14, equivalent to 25% of the total Brazilian second-crop corn area, according to Safras e Mercado, a local farm analytics firm. If rain really does take time to return.

(AG)

Posted at 12:09PM CST 02/04/14 by Alastair Stewart
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