Frosts seen hurting Brazil corn; Smaller risk for sugar cane, coffee

According to experts and meteorological centres, a powerful polar air mass travelling across the South and Southeast regions of Brazil this week will likely harm corn fields, although the danger of difficulties in sugar cane and coffee areas is lower.

Frosts are expected in most sections of Parana, Brazil’s second largest grain producer, as well as parts of Mato Grosso do Sul and the southern half of Sao Paulo, the country’s leading sugar cane grower, from Tuesday through Thursday.

According to Parana’s weather office, Simepar, frost will be present in almost all parts of the state in the next days. According to Rural Clima meteorologists, frosts are expected in neighbouring Paraguay, which might affect maize production.

“The scenario for the second corn harvest in the west and south of Parana, in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, and in Paraguay is problematic,” stated Marco Antonio dos Santos of Rural Clima.

“Some sugar cane and coffee fields in the northern portion of Parana and the southern half of Sao Paulo might also be impacted by frosts,” he said. However, such regions produce just a minor portion of Brazil’s coffee and sugar.

The biggest coffee regions in Minas Gerais, as well as the largest sugar cane fields in the northern portion of Sao Paulo, are expected to be frost-free, according to Rural Clima and Somar Meteorologia.

Because many fields were planted later than normal due to delays in the soybean crop, the damage to corn might be inevitable, and the crop is still in the stage when cold weather could be damaging.

Due to a protracted dry period this year, the Brazilian second corn crop, also known as winter corn, has already lost potential output, so frosts will further limit productivity. (Roberto Samora contributed reporting; Marcelo Teixeira contributed further reporting and writing in New York; Aurora Ellis edited the piece.)

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