Corn and soybean farmers in Brazil hit by huge losses amid droughts

The agriculture sector in Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul is expecting $6.6 billion in soybean and corn losses due to dry and warm conditions

Truck body full of freshly harvested soybeans travelling on a road

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Soybean and corn losses due to dry and warm weather conditions in the southernmost Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul are BRL36.1 billion ($6.6 billion), according to estimates from agriculture and livestock cooperative FecoAgro/RS released Tuesday, Janaury 25.

This is the second estimate released by FecoAgro/RS this year - the cooperative now pegs the monetary losses related to the drought more than BRL16 billion higher than in figures it released January 4.

Expected soybean losses amount to BRL29.5 billion while the summer corn output is an estimated BRL6.6 billion below the crop’s initial potential, according to FecoAgro/RS.

“According to data from the cooperative technical network RTC, the soybean loss amounts to 48.7% of the crop, overpassing 70% in some areas,” the cooperative said in a press release.

More than 175,000 corn and soybean farmers have been hit by the droughts in Rio Grande do Sul so far, according to the state’s agriculture agency, Emater/RS.

Although Rio Grande do Sul has registered much-welcome rains over the past couple of weeks, the volumes have been far from enough to solve the hydric stress situation in the state.

“Rainfall volumes were registered across all administrative regions, but they were rather irregular and scarce in some regions,” Emater said in its report dated January 24.

In September, Emater/RS had estimated the state’s 2021-2022 soybean output at 19.9 million tonnes - a figure that will, however, be unavoidably and significantly downgraded when it revises its estimates in March.

Rio Grande do Sul produced 20.4 million tonnes of soybeans in 2020-2021; it was Brazil’s third-largest exporter in the 2021 calendar year, with 12.2 million tonnes shipped.

Keep up to date with the news, analysis and market trends shaping the agricultural landscape, visit our dedicated grains and oilseeds page.

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