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August 1, 2011

Some Brazil Soy Varieties in Short Supply due to Low Quality

Heavy rains during the last soybean harvest in central Brazil not only slowed the harvest of soybeans and the subsequent planting of the safrinha corn crop, it also negatively impacted the quality of the soybeans that were being produced for seed. According the Brazilian Association of Seeds and Seedlings (Abrasem), this is forcing seed dealers to look to other states in Brazil to find high quality seed for the 2011/12 growing season. The total soybean seed supply is expected to be adequate to meet farmers' needs for the 2011/12 growing season, but specific varieties may be in short supply.

Seed producers in Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul generally do not produce enough seed to meet the demand in their states due to the recurring possibility of poor quality seed resulting from too much rain during harvest. Normally the seed producers in Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul produce enough seed to supply about one third of the seed needs in their respective states. This year, they will only be able to supply approximately 25% of their seed needs. An additional 20% to 25% of the seeds sold in Mato Grosso will come from the states of Bahia and Goias with the remainder from the states of Parana and Rio Grande do Sul.

If the seed supply of a specific soybean variety in Brazil is short, farmers can easily substitute another variety in its place. Substituting one variety for another is much more of a concern here in the U.S. than it is in Brazil. The reason it is more of a concern in the U.S. is due to the latitude at which the soybeans are grown.

Soybean growth and development is dependent on the length of daylight and nighttime during the growing season. The further away from the equator, the greater the variation in daylight and nighttime during the growing season. In the United States, a soybean variety can be grown about 100 miles north or south of where it was developed without any significant yield penalty. If they are to grown further north or south, it is better to change to a maturity group better suited to the region.

Substituting one variety or another is not as much of a concern in Brazil because the soybean producing regions of Brazil are much closer to the equator. As you approach the equator, the difference in day length varies much less as you move north or south. Therefore, soybean varieties in Brazil can be grown hundreds of miles away from where they were developed without any significant yield penalty. In other words, a soybean variety developed in Parana could easily work in Mato Grosso.

Moving varieties east or west of where they were developed is no problem whatsoever, so seeds produced in Goias or Bahia could be used in Mato Grosso.