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December 17, 2013

Farmers in Rio Grande do Sul Finalizing 2013/14 Soybean Planting

Farmers in southern Brazil are usually some of the last to plant soybeans because they plant their soybeans after the wheat has been harvested. That is happening again this year as farmers in Rio Grande do Sul are in the process of wrapping up the planting of their 2013/14 soybean crop. In contrast, some farmers in Mato Grosso will start to harvest some of their early planted soybeans within three weeks.

In the municipality of Santo Angelo located in northwestern Rio Grande do Sul, the 2013/14 soybeans are now 98% planted. The weather has cooperated thus far during the growing season and the soybeans are rated in good condition. The new corn earworm pest has been found in the area, but farmers thus far have been able to successfully control the insect.

According to the president of the local Rural Syndicate, Claudio Duarte, the lower prices paid for corn convinced farmers in the municipality to reduce their full-season corn acreage by 7,000 hectares in favor of additional soybean production. Last year farmers sold their corn for R$ 28.00 to R$ 30.00 per sack and this year the corn prices has fallen to the range of R$ 22.00 per sack.

Even though farmers in the municipality have planted more soybeans, they have been reluctant sellers of their anticipated 2013/14 soybean crop. Approximately 20% of the 2013/14 soybean crop has been forward contracted at an average price of approximately R$ 60.00 to R$ 65.00 a sack (approximately US$ 11.85 to 12.85 per bushel).

According to the latest estimate from Conab, farmers in Rio Grande do Sul increased their soybeans acreage by 5.4% from 4.6 million hectares to 4.8 million hectares. The average soybean yield in the state is estimated at 2,714 kg/ha (39.3 bu/ac) and the total production in the state is expected to increase 5.4% to 13.2 million tons. The state ranks third in Brazilian soybean production behind Mato Grosso and Parana and is responsible for approximately 15% of Brazil's total soybean crop. Conab is estimating the total Brazilian soybean crop at a record breaking 90.0 million tons.