All eyes are on South American soybeans as U.S. traders and farmers alike wait to see how many soybeans farmers in Brazil and Argentina will add to the world balance sheet. Soybeans there have reached a critical point in the growing season (the third week of August in the U.S. is a good reference point), and Mother Nature is using El Niño to throw farmers a curve ball.
While the weather forecast looked great for the remainder of the growing season before Thanksgiving, Ed Vallee, meteorologist and owner of Vallee Weather Consulting, says Brazil is starting to see dry spots in key growing areas and Argentina is facing massive amounts of rainfall.
“If you go back to 90 days ago, sometime in late October/early November, we were doing pretty well,” he told Chip Flory on AgriTalk After The Bell. “We had a lot of moisture early in the season up in Brazil, a lot of Argentina was getting good rain. So really, you go back before Thanksgiving, we were in great shape and that really continued into the beginning of December. But then things started shifting a little bit, we started getting some heavier rains in Argentina and we started drying things out ever so slightly in Mato Grosso down towards Parana.”
By the end of December, the dryness started to spread, according to Vallee.
“I think it was before Christmas, but after the beginning of December, when we really started to see the dry risks start showing up in some of the observations. I think we're starting to see some of the ramifications of that now,” he said adding that forecasts indicate the weather pattern will continue.
Just like this type of weather pattern would impact harvest for American farmers, South American farmers are anxiously waiting to see how their crops will finish and if they’ll be able to get them out of the field.
Flory said this is the time of the year in those areas that can make or break a crop.
“I mean you've already gone through your reproductive phase, you've already put pods on. You're to the point now that you're either ready to harvest, or you're putting the finishing touches on the size of the bean inside of those pods,” he said.
El Niño is likely to keep this weather pattern in place for the remainder of the South American growing season, Vallee said.
“I wish I had better news, but it does look like we’re kind of at that marginal weak yo-yo stage right now and I think we're going to pretty much stick with that type of look through the remainder of the growing season,” he said. “We look at a lot of models that go out four to six weeks and a lot of those models continue the general theme of that dry risk north and then that flooding risk across Northeastern Argentina. We don't necessarily know how El Niño is going to behave. But overall, it looks to continue at least through the month of January, and that’s plenty important for the crop that continues to mature here.”