Frosts hit Brazil's cane, coffee and orange crops, says weather expert

A man holds coffee berries at the Biological Institute plantation in Sao Paulo, Brazil May 8, 2021. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

SAO PAULO, July 20 (Reuters) - Frosts hit crops including sugar cane, coffee and orange in the center-south region of Brazil on Tuesday, according to a report by a Rural Clima meteorologist.

Marco Antonio dos Santos, a meteorologist who is a partner and director at the weather service consultancy, said earlier on Tuesday that he had received multiple videos showing frosts, but noted it was too early to determine the exact damage to these crops. Temperatures should rise starting on Wednesday as a cold front moves away, he said.

Coffee brokers said this frost was stronger than the last one, hitting farms in Minas Gerais state, the top producer.

Frosts were documented as far as the south of Goiás state, in the heart of Brazil's farm country, Santos said, referring to the center-west region, where average temperatures tend to be higher than in southern Brazil.

Santos also predicted frosts "as bad" as Tuesday's could return at the end of the month in the center-south region, where some farmers have not yet finished harvesting their second corn crop.

Starting on Saturday, a new cold front will hit Brazil's southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul, Santos said.

That system is expected to move northward and bring showers to important agricultural regions, reaching as far north as the state of São Paulo, he said. With rains persisting in the first half of August, winter crops like wheat in the south of Brazil will benefit, he said.

Brazil, the world's biggest soybean producer, will start planting its next soybean crop around September in the center-western states like Mato Grosso.

By then, Brazil should have returned to "a normal" rain regime, Santos added.

In the first half of 2021, farmers faced the worst drought in 91 years, damaging part of their second corn crop and reducing Brazil's export prospects.

So far, models indicate a normal rain pattern for the second half of September in the center-west region. In October, however, a short dry spell is likely to be driven by a mild La Niña, Santos noted, referring to the same region.

Reporting by Ana Mano and Marcelo Teixeira in New York Editing by Paul Simao

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