Rain on corn and soybean crops in Brazil’s southernmost state is easing the harm from a drought that parched fields in the past 10 weeks.
Showers have increased humidity in about 70 percent of corn crops and 80 percent of soybean fields in Rio Grande do Sul state since Jan. 13, Dulphe Pinheiro Machado Neto, a manager at state crop-forecasting agency Emater, said today in a telephone interview from the capital city of Porto Alegre.
Crops in Rio Grande do Sul, which produces about 14 percent of Brazil’s soybeans and 10 percent of the country’s corn, have lacked enough humidity to develop properly since November because of excessive heat and dryness caused by the La Nina weather pattern. The state will harvest 38 percent less corn and 15 percent fewer soybeans than initially forecast because of the drought, Emater said Jan. 12.
“Losses to corn are irreversible, but rains have prevented further losses,” Machado Neto said. “Humidity also helped soy crops, but we need to see more of that to start talking about a recovery.”
Rio Grande do Sul’s government declared a state of emergency in 282 of its 496 cities, according to information on the state civil defense department’s website.