August 5, 2011

Farmers in Parana Given Permission to Plant Soy 10 Days Early

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

Low temperatures are once again sending a chill across southern Brazil. Frost/freezes and light snow was reported earlier this week in the state of Parana for the third time this year. When cold temperatures hit earlier in June they caused significant damage to the safrinha corn crop in the state. With that in mind, soybean farmers in the state of Parana petitioned the Minister of Agriculture to allow them to plant their soybeans 10 days earlier than currently permitted and the Minister agreed to their request. The farmers requested this change because the planting guidelines established by the government must be followed if a farmer wishes to qualify for government programs.

Previously, farmers in the state were allowed to start planting their soybeans on October 1, but in selected municipalities where safrinha corn is produced, they will now be allowed to start planting their soybeans on September 20th. The overall trend in recent years has been to plant more early maturing soybeans which then can be followed by a second crop of corn.

Unfortunately, during the 2010/11 growing season, dry weather delayed the planting of the soybeans until later in October which then delayed the planting of the safrinha corn. The later planted safrinha corn was then severely impacted by the cold weather that hit the last week of June. To avoid a repeat of this year's disaster, more and more farmers in Parana are planning to plant early maturing soybeans as soon as possible to allow enough time for the safrinha corn to reach a safe maturity before potential cold weather hits again next June.

Switching to earlier maturing soybeans does not carry the same type of yield penalty as it would in the U.S. Earlier maturing soybeans in Brazil generally have about the same yield potential as later maturing soybeans, but they do have one additional risk factor. These earlier maturing soybeans would then be harvested during the month of January, which is the peak of the rainy season. Trying to harvest soybeans during the peak of the rainy season can be a real challenge and there can be yield losses associated with the heavy rainfall.