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July 10, 2019

Hard Freeze Negatively Impacted Crops in Southern Brazil

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

The temperatures in southern Brazil last Saturday night/Sunday morning were the coldest of the year and in many areas, the coldest in recent years. Hard freezes were recorded in the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Parana, Mato Grosso do Sul, Sao Paulo, and Minas Gerais. There were eight municipalities in Rio Grande do Sul that received snow. Even in the big cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, temperatures dipped to below 50 degrees.

The cold temperatures were not limited to just southern Brazil. In the southern Amazon states of Rondonia and Acre temperatures dropped to the upper 50's to low 60's, which are very cold for that region.

The crops negatively impacted in southern Brazil included safrinha corn, wheat, oats, barley, coffee, sugarcane as well as horticultural crops. For any late maturing safrinha corn, the hard freeze will accelerate the plant maturity, which could result in lighter grain. For the small gains such as wheat, oats and barley, the cold temperatures will probably have a limited impact if the crop was still in vegetative development and not flowering. If the crop had already started to flower, the impact will be greater.

For coffee producers in southern Minas Gerais, this freeze could be devastating. Coffee plants are very sensitive to freezing temperatures and at the higher elevations in southern Minas Gerais, it appeared that entire coffee fields were killed. There were numerous pictures posted on social media that showed entire fields that were dark brown in color, indicating that the plants were killed. The state of Minas Gerais is responsible for half of Brazil's coffee production.

Freezing temperatures in northern Parana and southern Sao Paulo also impacted coffee producers in the region. The Agronomic Institute of Parana (Iapar) advised coffee growers on Saturday to take immediate action to try and lessen the impact of the freeze.

The total impact of the freezing temperatures will take a few days to fully assess.