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December 16, 2011

Extra-Early Maturing Soybeans (90-day) spurs Additional Acreage

The biggest increase in soybean acreage this growing season in the state of Mato Grosso has occurred in the eastern part of the state where farmers have continued to convert pastureland into additional soybean production. One of the driving forces behind this conversion has been the introduction of extra-early maturing soybeans (90-day maturity), which allows the farmers to plant a second crop of corn or even cotton.

The eastern region of Mato Grosso, which encompasses the municipalities of Querencia, Agua Boa, Canarana, and Nova Xavantina currently plants 880,000 hectares of soybeans or approximately 13% of the state's total soybean acreage. Estimates are that the potential soybean production in the region could reach 1.5 million hectares. Mato Grosso is a very large state, so when you talk about one region of the state, in reality, that region could be as large as a typical Midwestern state in the U.S.

In the municipality of Querencia, the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea) estimates that the soybean acreage increased 26% this growing season from 72,000 hectares to 90,800 hectares. The introduction of extra-early maturity soybeans (90-day maturity) is expected to facilitate the planting of a second crop of corn or even cotton, which should make the conversion to soybean production even more attractive. In order to allow enough time for a second crop to be planted in the region, the soybeans must be mature within 100 days after germination.

According to farmers in the region, the yields of the extra-early maturing soybeans are in the range of 3,000 and 3,300 kg/ha or 43.5 to 47.8 bu/ac. The yield of the safrinha corn in the region can be in the range of approximately 4,500 kg/ha or 70 bu/ac. The farmers generally feel that the soybean crop will cover all their expenses for the year and that the safrinha corn crop will be their profit margin for the year.