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December 13, 2011

Two Areas of Dryness in the Soybean Fields of Mato Grosso

Mato Grosso is the largest soybean producing state in Brazil and there are two areas in the state where the weather has been dryer than normal since the start of the growing season. Some farmers in western Mato Grosso are lamenting the lower than normal rainfall they have been receiving over the last two months. The driest region appears to be in the municipalities of Sapezal, Campo Novo dos Parecis, and Campos de Julio. These three municipalities collectively represent approximately 14% of the soybean acreage in the state. Some of the areas in western Mato Grosso have been 12 to 15 days without rain with the driest region having gone 21 days without rainfall. In Sapezal, the amount of rainfall recorded since the start of the growing season has been the lowest in 22 years. Since the planting season has started, they received 350 mm of rainfall (13.6 inches) compared to the average of 800 mm (32 inches) they would normally receive by the end of December.

The rainfall thus far has been lighter than normal and unevenly distributed. The forecast is calling for a frontal system to pass through the area over the next few days with improved opportunities for rainfall. If they were to receive good rains over the next few days, the soybean plants would respond favorable, but there would still probably be some yield losses due to the previous dryness. One good widespread rain would be helpful of course, but additional rainfall would be needed over the next two months to insure full recuperation of the crop.

As of the end of November, Conab estimated that 84% of the soybeans in Mato Grosso were in vegetative development, 3% were germinating, 12% were flowering, and 1% was filling pods. That survey was conducted two weeks ago and currently it is estimated that 5% to 10% of the crop is filling pods. It is these most advanced soybeans that are more sensitive to moisture stress.