Rainfall finally returned to southern Brazil last week after many weeks of dry weather. Unfortunately, it was accompanied by strong thunderstorms, damaging winds, and it was followed by record cold temperatures. The rains are generally coming too late to significantly benefit the safrinha corn.
Farmers in southern Brazil who plant safrinha corn worry about two things – an early onset of the dry season and the potential for cold weather/frost before the corn is mature. Unfortunately, this year they are experiencing both.
A mass of polar air swept into southern Brazil over the weekend bring with it the coldest temperatures of the fall season thus far. The cold air is coming on the heels of strong thunderstorms that hit western Parana last Wednesday. The storms were accompanied by strong winds that caused widespread lodging of the safrinha corn. Pictures on social media showed entire fields of corn basically flat on the ground. Losses from the wind will add to the losses from the drought.
Even though the safrinha corn in Parana and southern Mato Grosso do Sul may not have experienced a frost, the bout of cold temperatures were not beneficial for the corn. It slows down the development of the corn which could put the crop at greater risk when the next cold front rolls in.
A week ago, the Department of Rural Economics (Deral) rated the safrinha corn at 16% poor, 44% average, and 40% good. The crop development a week ago was 5% in vegetative development, 38% pollinating, 53% filling grain, and 4% mature.A lot of corn estimates in Brazil have declined in recent weeks due to the prolonged dry weather. Safras & Mercado recently lowered their 2017/18 Brazilian corn estimate to 79.0 million tons. They are now estimating the safrinha corn crop at 48.7 million tons, which is down approximately 10 million tons from their April estimate of 58.5 million tons. They estimate the safrinha acreage at 10.4 million tons down 9.3% from last years 11.4 million hectares.