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March 15, 2016

Brazil Soybean Harvest Passes 50%

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

The 2015/16 Brazilian soybean harvest has advanced to 52% according to AgRural. This is slightly ahead of last year's pace at this time when 50% of the soybeans had been harvested.

Mato Grosso is the largest soybean producing state in Brazil and the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea) estimated that the soybean harvest in Mato Grosso is 76.6% complete compared to 80.2% last year at this time. Imea indicated that the average statewide yield obtained up until last Thursday was 51.7 sacks per hectare or 44.9 bu/ac.

The last major state to harvest soybeans in Brazil is Rio Grande do Sul and the extension service in the state estimates that 5% of the 5.47 million hectares of soybeans in the state have been harvested compared to 2% last year at this time. Of the crop left in the field, 22% is mature and 72% is filling pods. Yield estimates in the state vary widely with some analysts expecting the 2015/16 soybean yield to surpass last year's record yields. Other analysts are not so sure and they estimate that soybean rust may end up lowering soybean yields 10-15% compared to earlier estimates.

The other major region in Brazil where the soybeans are harvested the latest is northeastern Brazil. There has been some much needed rainfall in northeastern Brazil over the last several weeks which will benefit the later planted soybeans, but the rains came too late for the earlier planted soybeans that are already being harvested. The consulting agency AgRural reduced their Brazilian soybean estimate by 700,000 tons to 99 million tons due to lower than expected yields in northeastern Brazil. The soybean harvest in northeastern Brazil is 10-20% complete and AgRural reduced the statewide yields in the area by 3-5 sacks per hectare or 2.6 to 4.3 bu/ac.

The month of February was very hot and dry in northeastern Brazil, which was the critical pod filling period for the early planted soybeans. Northeastern Brazil, including the states of Bahia, Maranhao, Tocantins, and Piaui, produces about 10% of Brazil's soybeans. AgRural also lowered their estimate of the soybean yields in Parana and Santa Catarina by 0.3 to 0.4 bu/ac due to the wet conditions and lack of sunshine during the growing season and harvest.