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Commodity Intelligence Report
January 2, 2018

Season of Unfavorable Weather Reduces Brazil Wheat Harvest to Lowest in 10 Years

Brazilian wheat production in 2017/18 fell far below expectations. In comparison to last season’s favorable weather which gave rise to a record wheat crop, the 2017/18 crop’s prospects deteriorated through a series of adverse weather events that reduced output to an estimated at 4.25 million metric tons, 33 percent below last year’s record and a 10-year low (Figure 1). Harvested area is estimated at 1.9 million hectares, down 10 percent from last year and equal to the 2012/13 area which is the lowest in 10 years. Yield is estimated at 2.37 metric tons per hectare (mt/ha), down 25 percent from last year’s record, and below the 5-year average of 2.47 mt/ha.

Wheat is grown primarily in the two southern states of Parana (50%) and Rio Grande do Sul (35%). Rainfall and soil moisture conditions during the season alternated between inadequate and excessive (Figure 2). The season began with less than ideal conditions as excessive rainfall in May and early June delayed planting in Rio Grande do Sul. Dry weather in mid-June enabled planting but then dryness persisted. Crop losses from insufficient moisture due to the prolonged period of dryness were reported. Further loss in area and reduction in yields occurred from damaging sub-freezing temperatures in southwestern Parana during mid-July. Some frost damage was also reported in Rio Grande do Sul. In Parana, dry weather with high temperatures in early August stressed wheat in reproductive to filling stages. Beneficial rainfall returned to the wheat growing region in late August but was excessive at times. Persistent and above normal precipitation in Rio Grande do Sul that continued into the harvest period proved detrimental to crop development and health.

The wheat harvest began in September and is now complete. Harvest reports confirmed yields were lower than expected and far below last year’s in the southern wheat region (Figure 3). Compared to last year, yield is estimated down 46 percent in Rio Grande do Sul and down 25 percent in Parana, according to government sources (EMATER/RS, Technical Assistance and Rural Extension of Rio Grande do Sul; and PR SEAB-DERAL, Parana Secretariat of Agriculture and Supply-Department of Rural Economy). Additionally, adverse weather and disease have resulted in poor grain quality.

Other Winter Grains

The adverse weather similarly reduced yields of Brazil’s other winter grains including barley, rye and oats (Figure 4). Barley production is estimated at 291 thousand tons, down 22 percent from last year despite a 14 percent increase in planted area. Yield was down 32 percent from last year’s record and grain quality was reportedly compromised. Oats yield declined by 30 percent reducing production by18 percent to 682 thousand tons yield despite a record area of 340 thousand hectares being planted. The generally low quality barley and oats harvested in Rio Grande do Sul are destined as livestock feed according to EMATER/RS. Yield of rye is also below last year’s. Rye production is estimated at 7 thousand tons from an estimated area of 4 thousand hectares. Harvest of winter grains concludes in December. Planting of next season’s crops will begin in April for wheat and oats, and in May for barley and rye.


Current USDA area and production estimates for grains and other agricultural commodities are available on IPAD's Agricultural Production page or at PSD Online.

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Related articles: Brazil Wheat Faces One Weather Challenge after Another


For more information contact Maria Anulacion | | (202) 720-6878
USDA-FAS, Office of Global Analysis

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