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Drought Worse in South Brazil Than 2008-09

05 January 2012

BRAZIL - Dryness in southern Brazil has been worse than in three seasons ago, when La Nina also caused severe crop concerns in South America, but has not - yet - reached that level in Argentina.

Comparison of rainfall patterns in the last three months of last year with that in 2008 - when dryness caused crop losses in, particularly, Argentina - shows that southern Brazilian states were drier this time round, reports Agrimoney.

"Growing conditions in south Brazil are drier than 2008-09, the analogue year for a moderately strong La Nina," crop consultant Gail Martell said.

"Both Rio Grande do Sul and western Parana appear drier than three years ago."

'Not as extreme'

However, in Argentina's grain belt, "growing conditions this season were relatively wetter than 2008 in the same period", Ms Martell, at Martell Crop Projections, said.

"The moderately strong La Nina is causing dry conditions in Argentina corn growing areas and similar to the 2008-09 growing season, though drought is not as extreme as before."

At Soybean and Corn Advisor, Michael Cordonnier said that the situation in Argentina is "generally across country not as bad as it was in 2008-09", when dryness cost the country one-third of its corn crop and soybean crops.

'Repeat of 2008-09 is possible'

However, that did not mean that weather concerns, which have lifted grain prices worldwide, could be ignored, with 2008-09-style dryness on the cards "with about two more weeks of adverse weather", Dr Cordonnier said.

"There are specific locations in Argentina where currently it is probably about as bad as it was three years ago and one of those areas is where the provinces of Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, and Cordoba meet, which is in the heart of the production area.

"If the month of January ends up being as dry as December has been, then a repeat of 2008-09 is possible."

Ms Martell added that crops in the key Argentina state of Buenos Aries continue "to be stressed by an extremely dry atmosphere", with corn "coming under serious moisture stress early in January as the key pollination period advances."

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