CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Our shortest day of sunlight was the longest day of sunlight in Brazil, where crops are pollinating.

But a major part of the country has a drought.

The southern Brazilian states of Parana and Rio Grande do Sul, which produce a quarter of the corn and soybeans, are suffering from a La Nina drought. Providing a crop update yesterday was Joana Colussi, a Brazilian Native and U of I graduate student.

“There is a concern out regarding the soybeans, despite being more reticent than corn, it needs more rain. The situation is not good for soybeans,” Colussi said. “For example, in the west of Parana, another important region for agriculture in Brazil, and the forecast shows more dryness in the second half of December and January. Therefore, yields could fall further. We’ll see in the next couple of weeks about the condition of the weather.”

The only risk management alternative for Brazilian farmers is irrigation.

“This season is the second consecutive year that La Nina has to happen, in the summer crop months in South America. Brazilian crops were hurt by a deep drought in 2021, I think you remember, and continue the drought in 2022,” Colussi said. “That could force global demand to the U.S. for the second year. The best way to manage the risk is by investing in irrigation.”

“However, in Rio Grande do Sul, only 10% of corn production is irrigated and that is around 200,000 acres. In soybeans, the percentage of irrigation is even smaller; only 2%, with total land around 320,000 acres planted in Rio Grande do Sul. The challenge to increase these numbers is the lack of credit programs for irrigation in Brazil, for example.

Joana Colussi will be joining us for more of a Brazilian update on our weekend program, Midwest Ag This Week, on Saturday and Sunday.