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October 19, 2016

Brazil Soybean Planting 17%, Slightly Ahead of Average Pace

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

The 2016/17 Brazilian soybean crop is approximately 17% planted compared to 13% last year and 16% average.

The weather in Brazil has evolved over the last week into two opposite patterns. In southern Brazil it has become very wet with more rain in the forecast, while in central Brazil, it has become hot and dry with generally dryer-than-normal weather in the forecast.

I would estimate that 20% to 25% of the soybean acreage in Brazil is in the area of dryer-than-normal pattern. This is a very broad guess and I made that calculation by estimating that 20% of Mato Grosso is in the zone of dryness, 80% of Goias, 75% of Minas Gerais, 50% of Bahia, 75% of Tocantins, 75% of Piaui, and 75% of Maranhao. A word of caution though - we all know that soybeans can have a rough start, but if the weather cooperates later in the growing season, the crop could end up fine. This is very early in the growing season, farmers are just now planting, so this is something to watch going forward.

The wetness in southern Brazil is a mixed bag. The additional moisture is good for most of the state of Parana where the soybean planting is advanced, but recent dry weather delayed the soybean germination and emergence. The excessive wetness is not good news for the state of Rio Grande do Sul where it will delay the wheat harvest and subsequent planting of the double crop soybeans. It will also delay the planting of the full-season soybeans as well.

Mato Grosso - The soybean crop in Mato Grosso is 31% planted compared to 17% last year. The most advanced planting in is the western part of the state where 54% of the soybeans have been planted. The greatest soybean acreage is in the center-north region of the state where 41% of the soybeans have been planted. The slowest planting is the northeast region where 7% of the soybeans have been planted.

The rains thus far have been better in the western regions of the state and less than adequate in the eastern regions of the state. In general though, the soybean planting this year is getting off to a much better start compared to last year when hot and dry conditions delayed the planting.

Parana - The northern part of the state had been dry for 20-30 days until the rains late last week and over the weekend. The Department of Rural Economics (Deral) estimated that 37% of the soybeans were planted as of earlier last week compared to 23% last year and the emerged crop is rated in good condition. The driest areas were the northern part of the state. In Maringa, which is in northern Parana, 70% of the soybeans are planted, but there was a 20-day dry period that slowed germination. The area received approximately 2 inches of rain over the last few days, so now there will be enough soil moisture for germination.

In the city of Doutor Camargo, which is also in northern Parana, 90% of the soybeans have been planted, but only 60% of the soybeans that had been planted more than 20 days ago had germinated due to a lack of soil moisture. As a result, plant populations may be below optimum levels, but no one is talking about replanting due to the additional costs and lack of good quality soybean seed.

Delayed emergence of the soybeans in Parana have some farmers worried about their safrinha corn crop. Farmers in Parana who planted their soybeans last year between October 10-15 then planted their safrinha corn in early March, which is later than normal. Much of the March-planted safrinha corn suffered from hot and dry weather resulting in very poor yields.

Goias - Many farmers in Goias who started planting their 2016/17 soybeans in early October have since stopped planting due to a return of hot and dry conditions. In southwestern Goias, planting is expected to resume again in late October while in the center-north region of the state, planting is not expected to resume until early November. Farmers are being careful about planting their soybeans if there is inadequate soil moisture for germination and stand establishment because they do not want to replant due to the additional costs and a lack of good quality seed.

The Soybean and Corn Producer Association of Goias (Aprosoja-GO) expecting the soybean acreage to remain unchanged at 3.3 million hectares and for the soybean yields to increase compared to the very disappointing 2015/16 crop.

Tocantins - Tocantins is the state north of Goias and farmers in the city of Darcinopolis, which is located in northern Tocantins, plant some of the furthest north soybeans in Brazil. The only soybeans planted further north are planted north of the Equator where the growing season is the same as the U.S. (plant in May and harvest in September).

After a few showers in early October, some of the farmers in the region started to plant their soybeans, but they have now stopped due to the return of hot and dry conditions. They do not expect to resume planting until late October at the earliest and it might be as late as mid-November before the soil moisture returns to the level needed for germination and stand establishment.

Some farmers in the region plant soybeans earlier than they should in order to allow enough time for the safrinha corn, but by doing so, they also sacrifice some of the soybean yield potential. Farmers are also going to be very cautious about planting their soybeans due to the high cost of replanting and the lack of good quality soybeans for replanting.