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April 28, 2017

Polar Air and Freezing Temperatures Sweep Across Southern Brazil

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

Polar air is sweeping over southern Brazil bring with it the first sub-freezing temperatures of 2017. According to the Brazilian National Institute of Meteorologia, Thursday morning the temperatures in the higher elevations of the state of Santa Catarina fell to -1.1°C (30°F).

The temperatures all across southern Brazil are expected to set record lows below 10°C (50°F) for the next several nights in all of three state capitals including Curitiba in Parana, Florianopolis in Santa Catarina, and Porto Alegre in Rio Grande do Sul. The cold air is expected to remain in the area until Sunday night. The low temperatures Friday night in the state of Parana could be as low as -5°C (23°F) in the higher elevations with the possibility of frosts across the state until Sunday night.

The major crop concern in the state is the safrinha corn crop which is now in the early stages or pollination. The safrinha corn is planted mainly in the northern and western regions of the state where the temperatures are not expected to result in a killing frost. For a killing frost to occur, the temperatures need to drop to 27°F to 28°F for three hours.

Even if there is not a killing frost this weekend, the cold snap is not good news for the safrinha corn. The cold temperatures will slow down the development of the corn making it more susceptible to a future outbreak of potentially freezing temperatures. Farmers are concerned about just how early these cold temperatures have arrived. These are record cold temperatures for the end of April and farmers are concerned that the next blast of cold air could be even colder. The safrinha corn needs to be frost free until at least early June to avoid potential damage.