Drier March South America Forecast

Therefore, we can reasonably assume that despite the ongoing showers, which looks to continue through much of the main growing regions through the next 10 days, harvest progress should follow a normal curve, with rapidly increasing progress during the next couple of weeks. This will be very important as we head in March. Typically, the wet season rains begin to ease in April and especially in May. And as corn planting quickly follows soybean harvest, this is very important.

Average monthly rainfall for Cuiaba, Mato Grosso averages around 165 millimeters (6.5 inches) in March, 120 mm (4.75 inches) in April, and just 55 mm (2.1 inches) in May. All the while, temperatures remain rather high with daytime highs regularly in the lower to middle 30s Celsius (upper 80s to middle 90s Fahrenheit). With only two months of growth until dryness occurs, at least part of the safrinha (second-season) corn crop will be going into reproduction and filling in the start of the dry season. Corn will be more reliant on reserved soil moisture to pick up the slack.

So what does the forecast hold? For March, the DTN forecast calls for below-normal rainfall in central and northern Brazil and near- to above-normal precipitation over southern Brazil. This will cause concern about safrinha corn in Mato Grosso and the surrounding areas as soil moisture reserves may not be enough. For southern Brazil, the increase in soil moisture will be a welcome companion as soil moisture in that part of Brazil remains below normal. For April and May, near- to below-normal precipitation will be more widespread with no areas being highlighted for above-normal precipitation. This will add to the concern going forward for the safrinha corn season.

In Argentina, a front moved through the country Feb. 22-23 with some scattered showers. Moderate to heavy amounts were localized with many areas getting little to no precipitation.

Most of Argentina has below-normal soil moisture and below-normal precipitation during the past two weeks, leading to a decline in crop health for filling crops.

The forecast during the next two weeks and beyond are also on the dry side of normal. The dryness will push crops toward maturity and favor sunflower harvest, but the filling corn and soybeans will have difficulty maintaining yield prospects.

John Baranick can be reached at

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