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August 1, 2012

90-Day Soybean Free Period in Effect in Central Brazil

Various soybean producing states in Brazil are in the midst of their 90-day soybean free period during which all live soybean plants must be eliminated. The 90-day period started on June 15 and it will conclude on September 15. The goal of the soybean free period is to break the disease cycle of soybean rust before the next planting season begins.

During this period, all volunteer soybeans must be eliminated from the prior year's production fields, as well as along the roadways and near storage and transportation facilities. If volunteer soybeans are found, the landowner is given several days to eliminate the soybean plants. If they fail to eliminate the plants, they are subject to a fine of approximately R$ 1,150 plus R$ 112 per hectare of illegal soybeans.

Most farmers who are notified of volunteer soybeans on their property make a good faith effort to eliminate the plants and are not subject to any fines. Rarely, inspectors may find an entire field of soybeans growing during this period. If they do find a field of soybeans, the fines can be substantial. For example, if they would find 100 hectares of illegal soybeans, the fine would be approximately R$ 12,300 (US$ 6,175) plus the landowner would be required to destroy the crop as well.

In 2011, inspectors visited 2,813 properties in Mato Grosso and found 331 properties with volunteer soybeans and 40 landowners were eventually fined for not eliminating the soybeans in a timely fashion.

Soybean rust is a chronic problem in Brazil and researchers feel the primary reason why the 2011/12 soybean crop in Mato Grosso came in below expectations was because of a higher than normal incidence of soybean rust.