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August 22, 2016

Growing Season for Soybeans in far Northern Brazil Same as U.S.

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

Most people believe that all of Brazil lies in the Southern Hemisphere, but in reality, a small part of far northern Brazil is north of the Equator and in the Northern Hemisphere. Take for example the state of Roraima. Roraima, which borders on Venezuela and Guiana, is the northernmost state in Brazil and most of the state is in the Northern Hemisphere.

In recent years, farmers in the state have started to produce soybeans and since it is in the Northern Hemisphere, the soybean growing season in the state is the same as in the United States. They plant their soybeans in May or June and harvest the soybeans in September or October.

According to the latest report from Conab, farmers in the state planted 24,000 hectares of soybeans in 2016 (59,200 acres) and the total soybean production in the state is expected to be approximately 79,000 tons or just 0.082% of Brazil's total soybean production. While soybean production in the state is very small, producers are hoping it will grow in the coming years to 100,000 hectares (247,000 acres). One advantage producers in the state have is that they can sell their soybeans at a time when soybean stocks in Brazil are tight and prices are generally higher.

According to the Agricultural and Livestock Federation of Roraima (FAERR), the soybeans produced in the state are exported through Georgetown, Guiana (distance of 550 kilometers), or through Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela (distance of 1,200 kilometers), or the Port of Itacoatiara on the Amazon River (distance of 1,000 kilometers).

The Brazilian research agency Embrapa, developed soybean varieties suited for the state's cerrado soils. The soybean varieties developed for the state are very short cycle soybeans that can be harvested in 85 days. It is estimated that the state contains 4.6 million hectares of land (11.36 million acres) that could eventually be converted to agricultural production.

Roraima is considered the northern agricultural frontier of Brazil and farmers in the state invest most of their earning into equipment, improving soil fertility, and logistics. On September 2nd and 3rd, a series of meeting and field days are scheduled in the state to coincide with the start of the soybean harvest and to promote the production of soybeans.