The La Nina model is displayed for South America


DTN Ag Meteorologist Emeritus Bryce Anderson spoke about strengthening La Nina in his October 8 blog:…. He mentioned that Argentinian farmers can postpone planting corn and soybeans to avoid drier conditions during breeding in December and January.

I would tend to agree with this risk assessment, but Argentinian farmers are apparently planting anyway. They space their plantings from September to December to reduce the risk of drier periods affecting too much of the crop. According to the Argentine government, corn was planted 26 percent as of October 7, 2 percent more than last year. Growers may feel like they are doing their due diligence by sowing part of their crop now, just in case the forecast does not come true. Soybean plantation has not yet been reported in the country.

The current situation is not good for most of the primary maize and soybean areas in the country. Soil moisture in Argentina is currently modeled as lower than normal for most of the country. Scattered showers this week didn’t make much of a difference in too many areas. A frontal border moves across the country on October 14 and 15 with scattered showers, then a near-complete drought is forecast for much of next week. Temperatures will be below normal behind the front. This should help limit evapotranspiration a bit, but the country still needs more humidity.

This front is also expected to clear the skies over southern Brazil next week. This is the model that La Nina generally produces. The systems fronts cross Argentina and southern Brazil with a few isolated or scattered showers before going through several days of drought. Sometimes the rains come with enough regularity to be opportune for the harvests, even if the quantities are disappointing. Producers may have to rely on that again this year.

This front should allow about a week of drought before the next system goes over the weekend or next weekend to do the same. This is and will be a tough time for corn and soybean growth to start over the next few months as La Nina strengthens and continues to influence global weather conditions. Crops sown later could have an even better season this year as long as the rains can return with more frequency and intensity during the summer. If the drier cycle continues, crop yields could drop regardless of when they were sown.

John Baranick can be reached at [email protected]

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