Historic crop losses due to severe frost in Brazil

Historic crop losses due to severe frost in Brazil
Historic crop losses due to severe frost in Brazil

Farmers across Brazil are reporting massive crop losses due to severe frosts that have hit the country over the past 3 weeks. After several devastating cold waves on the weekend of July 24 and 25, another explosion is expected, followed by another at the end of the month.

The new week kicked off with another blow to the already shattered Brazilian corn market, as a new cold wave swept through central and southern Brazil, bringing frosts to corn-producing states and sparking renewed concerns over export volumes and contract breaches.

"This will be a historic loss in harvest," said Daniel Siqueira of Agrural, a local consulting firm to Agricensus.

On Monday, July 19, frosts hit parts of the states of Parana and Mato Grosso do Sul, affecting areas with late planting of corn.

The cold wave peaked on Tuesday 20 July and forecasts show possible new frosts in the states of Paraná, Mato Grosso do Sul, São Paulo and Minas Gerais.

Frosts hit crops such as sugarcane, coffee and oranges on Tuesday, according to a report by Marco Antonio dos Santos of Rural Clima. Coffee brokers noted that this frost was stronger than the previous one.

"The crop losses will be very large in all producing states except Mato Grosso … Parana and Mato Grosso do Sul will have no export capacity at all," Siqueira said.

"The situation is so dramatic that there will be no corn left on the market in September and the country will have to import a lot more from Argentina," said Victor Martins of Hedgepoint Global Markets.

According to Soybean and Corn Advisor President Dr. Michael Cordonier, temperatures in southern Brazil dropped below freezing three weeks ago, and even colder temperatures are expected this week.

"Some of these areas are going to be the coldest in 20 years. And I love to tell people that 20 years ago, there was not much Safrinha corn. And now it accounts for three quarters of all Brazilian corn production."

Starting Saturday, July 24, the new cold front will reach Brazil's southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul, Santos told Reuters.

Santos also predicted that severe frosts like yesterday could return at the end of the month in the south-central region, where some farmers have yet to finish their second corn harvest.

In the first half of 2021, farmers faced the worst drought in 91 years, damaging part of the second corn crop and weakening Brazil's export prospects.

The first widespread damaging frosts this season were reported on June 30, affecting areas of sugarcane, coffee and corn from the southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul to northern São Paulo.

“We haven't seen a frost like this in Brazil in a long time,” Santos said in a memo to customers posted on June 30.

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