If it were a movie, it could be called “Waiting for the big drop”, but the truth is that the cold front that is expected for tomorrow in the so-called agricultural “core region” of the country would not be enough to save the critical situation, similar to that of 2017 /2018
“The rainfall regime of the current campaign has a great probability of behaving like in 2017/18”, says the specialist Jose Luis Ayello, Doctor in Atmospheric Sciences, in a climatological report published by the Rosario Stock Exchange.
As for the effects of the lack of water on production, the report states that in the last seven days “regular to bad conditions doubled in corn and tripled in soybeans.” Faced with the water that runs out in the profiles, he explains, the pictures of the core zone, the most productive of Argentine agriculture, “show rapid deterioration.”
Producers are anxiously awaiting the cold front on Sunday that would arrive this Sunday and bring water. The weather will remain stable and the extreme heat wave will continue until then.
How much could it rain? “Rainfall could be from strong to very strong, with very important developments, in specific sectors,” says the report. .
The drought exceeded all expectations that were handled until two weeks ago. In fact, on December 31, 2021, a report showed that the drought affects 27% of the area and could extend over 62% of the region.
Rain: minus sixty millimeters
The reality was much worse. Elorriaga, another climate expert cited in the report, explained it almost as an anti-rain or rain in reverse, from the bottom up. “The record records, above 40ºC, and the high rate of solar radiation boosted moisture loss through evapotranspiration, which is close to 60 millimeters so far this month. In the core region, the atmosphere took practically 50% of the water that the profiles normally receive due to precipitation during the month of January, but without receiving a single millimeter in compensation.”
The drought that now covers 73% of the region could only be overcome, cites the report, with rainfall of 100 to 140 millimeters.
Regarding how similar the current situation is to the drought of the 2017/2018 cycle, one of the factors that contributed to the shortage of dollars and the exchange rate run that began at the end of the first quarter of 2018, which in turn led the government of Mauricio Macri to negotiate a credit from the IMF, the report says that it is quite similar.
The current situation has similarities to the drought of the 2017/2018 cycle, one of the factors that contributed to the shortage of dollars and the exchange rate run that began at the end of the first quarter of 2018, which in turn led the government of Mauricio Macri to negotiate a loan from the IMF,
“The current rainfall situation does not differ too much from the one in the 2017/18 campaign. Just like this one was conditioned by two consecutive Niña events”, say Elorriaga and Aiello, who explain that the cooling of the Central Equatorial Pacific shows “significant analogies” between the current conditions of the current Niña event with those of December 2017.
In technical terms: the ONI index, an indicator that graphs the anomaly of the surface temperature of the sea, then showed a greater cooling during December, a condition that coupled with atmospheric circulation promotes a high negative impact on the behavior of rainfall in Argentina ( see below)
That is why the specialists conclude that the rainfall regime of the current campaign has “great probabilities” of repeating what happened in 2017/18, although with a variant in favor of the current situation. “The good news is that the cooling of the Pacific in 2017 began thirty days later than the current one and had its lowest value in January 2018. This could indicate that La Niña 2021/22 may have left behind its maximum cooling and therefore, the core zone could recover precipitation within the average sooner than in 2017/18″, says the report.
That is, the shortage would be shorter.
As for the effects on the different crops, the Rosario stock market report says that In the case of “early maize”, the lots that went from “regular” to “bad” condition doubled.
“The heat continues, the early corns give battle but the damage does not stop: the bad regular condition, in just seven days, went from 27% to 51%. The good ones are now 35% and 14% are still in very good condition.”
For the “first soybean” the tables that went from “regular” to “bad” tripled. “The oilseed has also been affected by the brutal impact of high temperatures and lack of water. In the past week, the regular lots were 10% of the total planted area; after extreme temperatures are 30%. And now there is also 5% in poor condition. The outlook is very worrying.”
In this context, the Minister of Agriculture of the Nation, Julian Dominguez, was visiting the provinces of Entre Ríos and Santa Fe today to expand the Water Emergency Fund, which until today is a maximum of $500 million, an insignificant sum given the dimension of the crisis.