Commodity Classic Update- South American and Russian Forecasts Turning Drier


La Niña is affecting the major crop-growing regions of South America. Bryce Anderson, the senior ag meteorologist with DTN, gave a presentation on the weather during this year’s virtual Commodity Classic. The soybean crop year is winding down in South America, and farmers will be planting their second-corn crop when the soybeans get harvested. Anderson says the weather is looking dry as the second-corn crop will go into the ground.

“That dry pattern has a pretty high likelihood of continuing, or of redeveloping and strengthening in southern Brazil and Argentina, with a hint of dryness in central Brazil. This is not a real bumper crop-type of scenario that we’re seeing to finish out their full-season crops. March, April, and May still have Argentina mostly dry, southern Brazil on the dry side, and then near-to-below-normal for precipitation in the rest of Brazil.”

The corn crop condition in Brazil will draw a lot of attention in the markets over the next several months. “The safrina corn crop in Brazil is going to get a lot of attention and rightly so as we finish out this growing season for full-season crops and then follow it up with the safrina corn crop. This is how things have just ratcheted upward in the past 20 years with the second-crop corn, or the safrina crop, in Brazil. In the safrina states of Matto Grosso and Goias especially, the safrina crop has taken off, and many millions of hectares are been devoted to the safrina crop.”

The question is how much of that corn crop will get rain before things dry up in Brazil. “A key feature to watch is when the rainy season in central Brazil comes to an end in Matto Grosso. The average end for the rainy season is May fourth in Matto Grosso. But in La Niña years, you can have that show a wide variety, all the way from early April to late May. And, in a year like this, when there is a slower start than we’ve seen to the planting of the safrina corn crop in central Brazil, this end of the rainy season is a key metric, a key date, to keep track of.”

In the eastern hemisphere, snow cover looks adequate for Russia’s developing wheat crop.

“There’s been a lot of attention on how the snow cover pattern is looking. As of late winter, a lot of the Russian crop regions had nearly general snow cover, with that depth anywhere from 11 to 40 inches, with maybe a little bit less in south Russia, but otherwise, the snow cover was pretty deep. March, April, and May forecasts for Europe and Russia are looking variable across Europe, with nothing real dry.”

However, there may be some drier weather ahead for Russian wheat. “There is a drier trend in Russia, especially in the Volga Valley through the Caspian Sea, and then into southern Siberia. And farther into the springtime, into early summer, there could be some dryness impact on the Russian wheat crop as a lot of Europe has below normal precipitation, and then much-below normal is indicated for that key south Russia wheat region.”

Again, Bryce Anderson of DTN made these comments during this week’s virtual Commodity Classic.