A drought that started about this time last year erased about 10 percent of Brazil's coffee harvest that ended in August and damaged trees so badly that they will not recover normal output this coming season that begins harvest in May. In the most important coffee growing area in the south/southwest of Minas Gerais state, rainfall reached close to 14 inches (35 cm) in December, down from the 19 inch average for the area in the last month of the year.
Conditions look slightly drier in the western swath of coffee regions in the state, where important growing areas such as the Cerrado and the Triangulo Mineiro are located, data showed. With the absence of cooler air and widespread rains moving through Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo over the next two weeks, temperatures will rise above average in the coming weeks.
Meteorologists say a mass of hot air is developing over Minas Gerais and Bahia that will keep cold fronts from taking their normal northerly course over the growing regions and will keep rains concentrated in the southern states of Brazil. Sao Paulo state, also a major coffee producer, has seen normal rainfall in December and will see near normal moisture in early January, forecasts showed. Temperatures are expected to rise above normal, however, in the first half of January.
Rainfall in Brazil's center-west, including the top soy and corn state of Mato Grosso, has been slightly above average in December. Temperatures are expected to rise in the coming fortnight in the region as well, Reuters Weather Dashboard showed. Brazil's southernmost grain belt states have seen substantial rainfall in the past days, with isolated flooding in some regions, meteorologists reported. Rains in the soy and corn growing areas of the region are expected to be above average in January.