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December 26, 2018

Aprosoja Proposes later planting of Soybeans in Mato Grosso

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

The president of the Soybean and Corn Producers Association of Mato Grosso (Aprosoja MT) has come under criticism for his proposal to allow farmers in the state to plant soybeans as late as the first half of February if it is for their own seed production. Currently, soybeans in Mato Grosso are not allowed to be planted after December 31st and farmers are expressly prohibited from planting a second crop of soybeans in the same field during the same growing season.

His view is that the seed quality would be better if the soybeans are planted later because they would be maturing and harvested as the summer rainy season is ending. This would result in better quality seeds because of the lack of rainfall during harvesting.

If the soybeans were planted earlier, then the harvest would occur during January or February when there is a high probability that rainfall could delay the harvest, at least temporarily. Any time a mature soybean plant goes through a wet and dry cycle after the plant is mature, there is an increased chance that the seeds could be attacked by fungus. Even if the seeds are not visibly moldy, the fungus could significantly lower the subsequent germination when the seeds are planted. So, his basic argument is that it would be better to produce seed if the soybeans were planted later in the growing season.

His critics contend that he is missing the bigger picture. They point out that a second crop of soybeans is prohibited because a second crop extends the time during which soybean rust is active, which requires many more applications of fungicides. These repeated fungicide applications in turn, puts more pressure on the disease to develop resistance to the chemicals putting all subsequent soybean crops more at risk to the disease.

Researchers also point out that allowing some farmers to plant a second crop of soybeans would encourage other farmers to do the same thing even it wasn't for personal seed production. Many farmers feel they could make more money with a second crop of soybeans instead of a second crop of corn. Researchers point out that it would be a short term financial gain for a long term loss.

The final decision on this matter will be left to the new administration and the new Minister of Agriculture which take office on January 1st in consultation with Embrapa.