Bloomberg Línea — The drought affecting Brazil’s southern region will shrink the grain harvest this year, with soybean and corn crops in Paraná and Rio Grande do Sul the worst affected so far by the lack of rain.
Brazil will produce 6.7 million tons of grain less than estimated in December of last year, and of that total, 6.6 million tons correspond to just soy and corn in the country’s two southern states.
In Paraná state, the biggest loss has so far been registered in the first corn crop of the year. The December estimate of 4.2 million tons has now been revised down to 2.7 million tons, a cut of 1.5 million tons, or 35.5%, in just one month. For the second harvest however, which is still to be planted, Brazil’s National Supply Company (Conab) estimates the figure will remain the same as that released in October last year.
In the case of soybeans, which shares space with the first crop of corn in Paraná, the losses are smaller in percentage terms, but larger in absolute terms. Conab has cut its harvest forecast by 10.9%, from 20.7 million tons in December to 18.4 million tons.
In Rio Grande do Sul, the soybean crop, which was planted a little later than in Paraná, has not yet felt the effects of the drought. The expectation is that 21.2 million tons will be harvested in the 2021/22 cycle, a volume almost 1% higher than forecast in October, and 1.2% higher than last year’s production.
However, corn production in Rio Grande do Sul has already been severely affected. Some estimates indicate that only the areas cultivated with the use of irrigation will come to harvest. Until December, Conab projected a production of 5.9 million tons, but in its January report it cut that forecast by more than 48%, revising down its expectation to a little more than 3 million tons, meaning almost 3 million tons of corn will not be harvested in the state.