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August 10, 2015

Soybeans Enters Second Century of Production in Rio Grande do Sul

The state of Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil was the birthplace of soybean production in Brazil. Specifically, the city of Santa Rosa in the northwestern part of the state is the site where the first soybeans in Brazil were planted 100 years ago.

Soybean production in the state is now entering into its second century and for the first soybean crop of the second century, farmers in Rio Grande do Sul are expected to plant a record large acreage of soybeans. Soybean prices are quite good in the state, which is the incentive to plant more soybeans. Farmers in the state are exchanging seed and fertilizers for future May delivery of soybeans at a rate of R$ 70.00 to 72.00 per sack.

According to Emater (the extension service in the state), farmers in Rio Grande do Sul last year planted a record of 5.2 million hectares of soybeans (12.8 million acres) and achieved a yield of 2,800 kg/ha (40.6 bu/ac), which was a record high yield. As a result, the state produced a record large crop of 14.8 million tons placing it third behind Mato Grosso at 28 million tons and Parana at 17 million tons.

For the 2015/16 growing season, farmers in the state are expected to plant another record large soybean crop by converting more of their fill-season corn to additional soybean production. Full-season corn acreage in the state declined 9% in 2014/15 to 940,000 hectares and it is expected to decline another 10% in 2015/16. The 90,000 hectare reduction in full-season corn acreage is expected to be planted to soybeans driving up the 2015/16 soybean acreage to another record large 5.3 million hectares (13.0 million acres).

Full-season corn in Rio Grande do Sul is planted from August to October and harvested from January to March. If the spring weather cooperates, farmers in the northwestern part of the state would like to start planting their full-season corn in early August, but as of now, there has not been any reports of corn being planted. The full-season corn in southern Brazil is primarily used for animal feed and the continued reduction in full-season corn production has livestock producer worried that their feed costs may increase due to tight supplies.