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December 1, 2008

                      
Rain in Brazil's south hinders wheat crop
                    


Strong rains in Brazil's southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul, has hindered the wheat crop, said Safras & Mercado Friday (Nov 28).

 

Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil's No. 2 wheat-producing state, should produce 1.95 million tonnes of wheat in 2008-09, lower than its earlier estimate of 2.2 million tonnes before the rain, said Elcio Bento, an analyst at Safras & Mercado.

 

"The wheat harvest (in Rio Grande do Sul) has been impacted by higher-than-expected rainfall, leading to lower quality and production," said Bento.

 

Around 500,000 tonnes of wheat won't be of milling quality this year, he said.

 

In October and early November, Rio Grande do Sul was lashed by heavy rain. However, in recent weeks the weather improved allowing 86 percent of the state's crop to be harvested by Nov. 27 compared to 89 percent the same time last year, he said.

 

The 2008-09 crop will still be above 1.6 million tonnes produced in 2007-08 in Rio Grande du Sul. The increase is due to an increase in the area to 960,000 hectares planted with wheat this year versus 800,000 in 2007-08.

 

Farmers in Rio Grande do Sul also expect higher productivity at 2,031 kilogrammes per hectare in 2008-09 versus 2,000 kilogrammes per hectare in 2007-08.

 

However, Odilone Soares DaCosta, an agronomist with the state's rural assistance agency Emater, downplayed the likely decrease in production.

 

"Some areas will have a small drop in production and quality but the difference from last year shouldn't be significant," DaCosta said without giving details.

 

Brazil's Parana state, the country's No. 1 wheat-producing state, also experienced recent rain but is unlikely to see a reduction in production or quality, said analysts.

 

Marcilio Saiki, at Brazil's largest agricultural cooperative, Coamo, said the wheat crop in Parana remains within expectation and normal quality.

 

Parana should produce around 2.9 million tonnes in 2008-09 compared to 1.9 million tonnes in 2007-08, according to Safras & Mercado.

 

Elsewhere, neighboring Santa Catarina state's crops haven't been severely affected by the deadly flooding that has claimed around 100 lives.

 

The wheat and soy crop isn't located in the coastal areas where the worst flooding occurred, although some rice farmers have been affected, said Bento.

 

Brazil's total wheat production is estimated at 5.7 million tonnes in 2008-09 compared to 3.8 million in 2007-08, said the National Commodities Supply Corp., or Conab, this month.
                       

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