December 27, 2016
Early Soybean Harvest underway in Mato Grosso
The early soybean harvest in Mato Grosso, Brazil started a few days before Christmas. The soybeans that are now being harvested are 90-day maturity soybeans that were planted immediately after the soybean-free period expired on September 15th. Thus far, there have only been a few fields harvested, but many more soybeans will be ready for harvest starting next week.
Farmers in Parana have also started to apply drying agents that help to desiccate the plants by causing the reaming leaves to drop off and the stems to dry down allowing for harvest. Once it is applied, the soybeans can be harvested within 7-10 days depending on the weather. The application of these drying agents is tricky. If they are applied too early, it may cut short the pod filling period thus trimming the yield. The early soybean harvest should also begin in Parana later this week.
Mato Grosso has been receiving above normal rainfall since the growing season started in September and the rainfall amounts increased greatly during early December. During the first half of December, many areas had already received more rainfall than what they would normally receive for the entire month. It looks like the second half of December will be much dryer, which will benefit the early harvest progress.
Farmers are now concerned that the constant heavy overcast skies and frequent rain during early December may be hurting their yields. The lack of sunshine was limiting photosynthesis at a time when all the plant's energy was being directed to seed development. The wet weather has also prevented many farmers from making timely fungicide applications needed to control soybean rust. The dryer near term forecast should allow farmers to catch up on their fungicide applications.
During these periods of wet weather, the temperatures are very warm (90°F of higher) and the relative humidly is very high. Under these conditions, things turn moldy and musty very quickly including soybean seed. The seed quality can deteriorate very quickly with repeated wetting and drying of mature soybean seed. The seeds can become shriveled and moldy, the pods can split open dropping the soybeans on the ground, or the seed can even sprout in the pod. A lot of bad things can happen under these conditions, so that is why farmers are hoping for dryer weather moving into January.
The Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea) is estimating a statewide soybean yield of 54.05 sacks/ha (47 bu/ac) and a total production in the state of slightly more than 30 million tons.