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August 2, 2011

Limited Number of Soy Research Plots Authorized in Mato Grosso

The Brazilian Minister of Agriculture and Livestock has authorized the planting of 250 hectares of soybeans in the state of Mato Grosso even though the state is in the midst of a 90-day soybean free period. All the authorized soybean production is for scientific research studies. During the soybean free period, it is prohibited to grow commercial soybeans either for sale or for seed increases.

Thirteen widely scattered areas throughout the state were authorized to grow soybeans during the 2011 prohibition period, which is one more than in 2010. The authorized areas are in the municipalities of Sinop, Sorriso, and Lucas do Rio Verde, which are all located in central Mato Grosso and the municipalities of Dom Aquino, Primavera do Leste, Rondonopolis, and Itiquira, which are all located in southern Mato Grosso.

The only soybean plots authorized during this period are for breeding new varieties, limited seed increases of new soybean varieties, and various diseases studies including nematode studies. All the authorized soybean fields must be sprayed and monitored constantly for the presence of soybean rust. If any of the scientific plots are found to contain soybean rust, the plants will be destroyed immediately. Any large scale commercial seed increase by seed companies is prohibited.

As part of their effort to monitor the spread of soybean rust, technicians from the state department of agriculture have been surveying the state for any volunteer soybeans and the presence of soybean rust on other host plants other than volunteer soybeans. Thus far the results have been very encouraging and the number of observed cases of rust has been lower than last year.

Researchers continue to study how soybean rust spores survive during the dry season in central Brazil. If they find that the spores can survive longer than 90 days without a host plant or if other host plants play an important role in the survival of the spores, then they might have to adjust the 90-day soybean free program.