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January 24, 2018

Weather in Uruguay has been inconsistent for Soybean Production

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

The focus of soybean production in South America is usually directed at the two big producing countries of Brazil and Argentina, but other countries such as Paraguay, Bolivia, and Uruguay also produce soybeans as well. The country of Uruguay is the smallest soybean producing country in South America with approximately one million hectares of soybean production.

The soybean planting in Uruguay ended in December with the planting of the double crop soybeans following the winter wheat harvest. Thus far this growing season, the weather in Uruguay has been inconsistent with scattered showers and incomplete coverage. The more sandy soils in Uruguay do not hold water very well especially when temperatures are hot such as they have been this January. As a result, a few days without rain, and the soybeans may already start to exhibit moisture deficits.

The rains during January have been limited, but not to the point of being alarming, at least for the time being. As a result, the farmers in Uruguay are characterizing the yield potential of their soybeans as only acceptable. Most of the soybeans in Uruguay are still in the vegetative phase, so the eventual yield potential is yet to be determined. If rainfall improves at the end of January and into February, the yield prospects will improve as well.

Farmers in Uruguay are also worried about their cost of production, especially during times of low prices such as now. Approximately 50-60% of the crop production in Uruguay is on rented land, which makes the cost of production even higher.

One of the ways farmers have tried to reduce their costs is to use their own seed for planting, which is allowed in Uruguay even if they originally purchased GMO soybean seed that required a royalty payment. Agronomist are worried that by using more of their own seed, they may actually be limiting their yield potentials by not having the best quality seed.