La Niña These Days:

Jul 19, 2022

La Niña is here to stay. Like a guest that has overstayed their welcome, this (theoretically) annual meteorological pattern just can’t take a hint. For the first time since 1999-2001, La Niña is in its third straight year.

How La Niña works: La Niña is characterized by abnormally cold ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific, whereas El Niño is the opposite, bringing unusually warm ocean temperatures to the same region.

Concern for corn: What does this mean for U.S. corn producers? Likely dry, hot conditions. With the corn crop in or headed towards pollination, yields are at risk.

By the numbers: According to the University of Illinois, in the last two La Niña years, corn harvests were down 2% from the trendline (in 2020) and 0.2% above it in 2021. The last time La Niña stuck around for three straight years (1999-2000-2001), yields hovered around average levels.

Brazilian bumper crop? Safrinha is a term for the Brazilian second crop harvested from June to September. Around 70% of the nation’s corn comes from the safrinha.

The bulk of this crop is planted in the Midwest and Northeast of Brazil, where La Niña has the opposite effect it has in the U.S.—bringing increased rain. This, paired with increased corn acreage, has Brazil poised to break records this season.