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August 9, 2016

Farmers in Rio Grande do Sul starting New Cropping Sequence

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

Farmers in Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil have already started to plant their 2016/17 full-season corn crop. Usually, the corn planting starts during the second half of August, but farmers are anxious to get an early start on their corn planting for two reason. The first and most important reason is the fact that domestic corn prices in Brazil have doubled over the past year due to a disastrous safrinha corn crop, so corn production looks profitable. The second reason for the early start to corn planting is because it will allow for a second crop of soybeans to be planted after the corn is harvested.

This early-planted corn will be ready for harvest in late December or early January and once the corn is harvested, farmers plan to immediately plant a second crop of soybeans. This is a new type of cropping sequence that has started just within the last several years in Rio Grande do Sul. The Corn Producers Association of Rio Grande do Sul (Apromilho) estimates that as much as 200,000 hectares of soybeans will be planted after the first crop of corn is harvested. This cropping sequence is exactly opposite of what occurs in central Brazil where a second crop of corn follows a first crop of soybeans.

Farmers in Rio Grande do Sul are allowed to plant soybeans after the first of the year, whereas in Mato Grosso, no soybeans will allowed to be planted after December 31st. Scientists in Mato Grosso argued that planting a second crop of soybeans allows soybean rust spores to survive from one growing season to another. That is not as much of a concern in Rio Grande do Sul because cold weather during the winter season usually kills any surviving rust spores.