Map of floodwater in southern Brazil. Courtesy of NASA.

By Ryan Hanrahan, University of Illinois’ FarmDoc project

Reuters’ Andre Romani and Leticia Fucuchima reported Tuesday that “soybean losses related to recent floods in Brazil’s southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul were estimated at 2.71 million metric tons, crop agency Emater said on Tuesday, in line with private forecasts ranging from 2.8 million to 3 million tons.”

“Emater said in a statement it expects Rio Grande do Sul’s soybean crop to reach 19.53 million tons this season, down from the 22.24 million tons forecast previously, pegging soy yields at 2,923 kilograms per hectare in the state,” Romani and Fucuchima reported.

Harvested Crop Transport Could Be the Next Challenge

While the losses are significant, Successful Farming’s Luis Vieira reports that farmers could face even more challenges in the coming weeks as the country’s soybean harvest — which is 98% finished, as of June 2 — is completed.

“Even though the level of most rivers in Rio Grande do Sul have lowered significantly in recent days, local authorities are still concerned about moving the crop out of fields due to damage on roads and bridges,” Vieira reported. “‘It will be a major challenge to make the crop reach the port,’ says Nereo Starlick, the soybean coordinator at a local association of cooperatives.”

AFP’s Anna Pelegri reported last week that “multiple bridges collapsed in the flooding and roads are in a dire state (in Rio Grande do Sul), making the transportation of goods extremely difficult.”

“‘The most pressing thing is to restore mobility,’ said Angelo Fontana, president of the Chamber of Industry, Commerce and Services of the Taquari Valley, a badly affected region northwest of the capital, Porto Alegre,” Pelegri reported.

Livestock Industry Experienced Significant Losses, Too

“Rio Grande do Sul’s livestock production was also severely impacted and will require a long time to recover, Emater said citing data from the state’s farm and rural development agencies,” Romani and Fucuchima reported. “Some 3,711 farmers were affected, mainly poultry producers, who lost an estimated 1.198 million head after floods and landslides in some areas.”

“There were also substantial losses of beef and dairy cattle, pigs, fish and bees, Emater said, without providing details,” Romani and Fucuchima reported.

Overall Toll of the Floods

Outside of the agriculture losses the floods have caused in Brazil, ABC News’ Leah Sarnoff reported that, as of mid-May, “149 people were confirmed dead in the flood-stricken (Rio Grande do Sul) state, with 124 individuals still unaccounted for, according to civil defense officials.”

“More than 600,000 people have been displaced from their homes, with approximately 155,000 of those homes being destroyed, officials said,” Sarnoff reported. “In total, local agencies say 2.1 million people have been directly affected by the ongoing climate crisis in Rio Grande do Sul.”