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August 24, 2011

Wet Conditions Hinder Early Field Preparations in Southern Brazil

Farmers in the state of Rio Grande do Sul would like to start planting their full-season corn and dry bean crops, but a prolonged period of cold, cloudy and wet weather is hindering their early field preparations. The full-season corn needs to be planted as soon as possible in order to allow enough time for the crop to pollinate and fill grain before the month of December when there can be periods of hot and dry weather. They also would like to plant their dry beans because dry beans are fast maturing and they usually like to plant three crops of dry beans per year.

Temperatures in the state recently dipped down to the low 30's and persistent rains have been falling in the state for several weeks resulting in saturated conditions. This is the third episode of cold weather since late in June when freezing temperatures and snow were recorded in the state.

Rio Grande do Sul is the second leading full-season corn producing state in Brazil after Parana and farmers in the state are anxious to plat their corn due to strong domestic corn prices. Full-season corn and soybeans competed for the same acreage in the state and it is expected that they will opt for increased corn acreage in 2011/12. Only a very small portion of the corn in the state is planted as safrinha corn after the soybean crop is harvested, but more farmers in the state are experimenting with early maturing soybeans that would allow enough time to plant a second crop of corn. The soybean acreage in the state is expected to hold steady or maybe decline slightly this growing season.

The principal crop growing in the state at the present time is winter wheat and most of the crop is in the jointing stage. The recent temperatures were not cold enough to cause any significant damage to the wheat crop and the wheat production is expected to be good. Farmers in the state planted 844,000 hectares of wheat and they are expected to harvest 1.85 million tons of wheat. Brazil is expected to produce approximately 5 million tons of wheat in 2011 and to import another 5 million tons of wheat or more to meet domestic demand.