in the world Agriculture La Nina, which the producers never liked, is capturing the lands again. La Nina, the weather system that formed over the Pacific Ocean, has returned for the first time in three consecutive years this century, according to the UN’s World Meteorological Organization. Described as ‘triple bottom’, La Nina is expected to affect weather conditions in important agricultural areas of the world by the end of the year.
La Niña is experienced when strong winds on the surface of the Pacific Ocean near the coast of South America create a current of warm water along the equator towards Indonesia, other parts of Asia, and Australia. During this period, some countries experience drought, while others face floods.
The last series of 3 La Nina took place in 1998-2001 and before that in 1973-1976. However, the current cycle has the potential for much more destruction because climate change is said to exacerbate the negative effects.
The drought, winter storms and hurricanes triggered by La Nina will drive global production forecasts in the coming months, according to market experts. One of the most important factors in shaping wheat, corn, soy, sugar and cotton prices is La Nina.
Worldwide damage from the last La Nina
■ North America: Drought spread to western parts of Canada and the USA, causing grain stocks to decline. The drought witnessed in the Midwest also affected corn planting in 2022-23, causing a decrease in yield estimates. Dry conditions have caused huge losses to the cotton crop, pushing prices to the highest level in more than a decade earlier this year.
■ Australia: La Nina typically results in wet conditions favoring wheat cultivation in eastern Australia. Current forecasts point to an above-average probability of winter-spring precipitation for Australia and higher wheat production in the country. The Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics and Science has increased its wheat production forecast for 2022-23 from 30.3 million tons to 32.2 million tons. But flooding creates problems. Seller spoils quality. It is also a major threat to the country’s metallurgical coal mines. In recent years, La Nina has affected few, causing prices to soar.
■ Brazil: Intense dry weather has damaged coffee, sugar and orange orchards in Brazil, the world’s largest exporter of the three crops. Marco Antonio dos Santos, a meteorologist at Rural Clima, said dry air is still a concern as the new coffee season begins. In the 2020-21 marketing year, Brazil’s corn production fell sharply due to La Nina conditions. In the southern states of Brazil, soybean yields also declined in 2019-20 and 2021-22, driven by La Nina. In addition, bad weather disrupted the operations of the country’s major iron ore miners such as Vale.
■ Argentina: The driest winter since 1995 raises concerns over the production of major grain and oilseed crops in the 2022-23 season. Historically, the impact of La Niña on crops in Argentina has been even more negative than in Brazil. Corn, wheat, and soybean yields fell during most of the La Niña years.
■ South Asia: Rainfall associated with the summer monsoon in Southeast Asia tends to be above normal during La Nina and benefits rice production. India, Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam are the main rice producers and contribute more than 70 percent of the global rice trade. Rice yields are often boosted by higher rainfall as it is a water-intensive crop.
■ Africa: La Nina can cause scant rainfall in equatorial east Africa. East Africa is experiencing its worst drought in four decades, with severe drought conditions for five consecutive years. Food production forecasts are expected to decline as South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda receive less rainfall due to La Nina and shrink global grain supply. Production declines in East African countries could exacerbate supply concerns.