The weather pattern in South America early in the growing season has featured a pattern that has been too dry to support widespread soybean planting in the major central Brazilian growing region of the northern Mato Grosso. Meanwhile it has been too wet for widespread planting in the southern Brazil states of Parana and Rio Grande do Sul as well as the major corn and soybean areas of central Argentina. This wet weather has also impacted the wheat harvest in southern Brazil with quality issues along with some harvest losses and increasing disease issues with the maturing crop in central Argentina.
We are seeing signs of a gradual shift in the weather pattern towards more rain in central Brazil and less over southern Brazil and central Argentina which we expect to continue this week. However there is the chance of a significant rain event for central Argentina later this week and southern Brazil over the weekend which could again disrupt planting and impact maturing and harvesting wheat.
What could be of greater concern longer term is what happens to the pattern around around and after the first of the year. We have been of the opinion based on our data that we have been in an El Nino pattern during the past few months. Clearly the weather patterns in South America has been behaving in all El Nino like fashion so far this growing season. Our data now suggests that the El Nino has faded to near neutral conditions with the possibility of some La Nina conditions developing by the end of this year or early next year. This could be quite significant as La Nina conditions would suggest a turn to drier weather in central Argentina and possibly southern Brazil. This would stress pollinting corn and filling soybeans. We will be watching this situation closely.
The other issue of major concern at this time is the dryness in the southern plains winter wheat belt. Unlike last year when soil moisture conditions improved during planting and pre winter development of the crop moisture conditions appear to be deteriorating heading into winter. If sea surface temperatures in the pacific continue to cool the chance of beneficial precipitation in the region dimninishes, This combined with the climatological trend towards drier weather in the late fall and winter could pose major problems for this crop heading into next spring.
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