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August 8, 2011

Volunteer Soybeans Being Destroyed in Mato Grosso

Officials from the state of Mato Grosso indicated that they have inspected approximately 1,000 properties in the state since June 15th looking for any live soybean plants. They have notified 171 landowners thus far that volunteer soybeans have been found either on their properties on along the roadways that border their property. Once notified, the landowner then has 48 hours to destroy the volunteer soybeans. All the soybeans found thus far have been volunteer soybeans that fell on the ground either during harvesting or during transport and subsequently germinated. No intentionally planted soybean fields have been found in the state thus far.

Since central Brazil does not have cold temperatures that would kill the plants between growing seasons like the U.S., it is very common to find live soybean plants growing along the edges of the fields or along roadways. Many of the trucks used to transport soybeans in Brazil were not designed for the transport of grain and subsequently soybeans can be seen constantly dribbling out of the truck as it proceeds down the highway. These soybeans could land along the roadway and germinate if water is available.

Farmers in the state have been more conscious this year in observing the prohibition on live soybeans during the 90-day soybean free period. In 2010, six individuals were found to have intentionally planted soybeans even though they knew it was prohibited between June 15th and September 15th. Farmers who were found to have planted soybeans illegally were ordered to destroy the crop immediately and to pay a fine. The fine in 2010 was R$ 1,080 plus R$ 72 per hectare of soybeans discovered. For example, if 1,000 hectares of illegal soybeans were discovered, the fine totaled R$ 73,000 in addition to the cost of destroying the soybeans.

The goal of the program is to reduce the survival rate of soybean rust spores during the Brazilian dry season. Damage from the disease can be held in check if the disease does not move into a commercial soybean field until later in the growing season. A late arrival of the disease also saves the farmer money by reducing the number of fungicide applications necessary to control the disease.