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Dec31_15-Early-Harvest-Underway-for-Irrigated-Soybeans-in-Mato-GrossoDecember 31, 2015

Early Harvest Underway for Irrigated Soybeans in Mato Grosso

The early harvest is underway for irrigated soybeans in the state of Mato Grosso in central Brazil. According to a report from Canal Rural, soybeans that were planted on September 15th, which was the first day that soybeans were allowed to be planted in the state, are now ready for harvest. Non-irrigated soybeans were planted later due to dry conditions during September and October and the early harvest for the non-irrigated soybeans will start in mid-January, or about 2-3 weeks later than normal.

A small percentage of the soybeans grown in the state are irrigated using center pivots and the early yields from irrigated soybeans in Nova Ubirata, which is in central Mato Grosso, indicate yields that are below expectations. One farmer reported that he expected 70 sacks per hectare (4,200 kg/ha or 60.9 bu/ac), but the yields are coming in at 64 sacks per hectare (3,840 kg/ha or 55.6 bu/ac). Last year the yield was 74 sacks per hectare (4,440 kg/ha or 64.3 bu/ac) under the same center pivot.

The lower than expected yields are being attributed to the lack of rainfall and the very high temperatures. For long periods of time during October and November, temperatures in the region were in the range of 100-104F and the center pivots could not keep up with the high water demand of the soybean crop.

In the central Mato Grosso city of Sorriso, which is the largest soybean producing municipality in Brazil, the news is very similar. The president of the local Rural Syndicate is reporting that the yields from the irrigated soybeans are lower than expected. For the lucky farmers who received a couple of good rains in addition to the irrigation, yields are satisfactory. For the unlucky farmers who missed some of the scattered showers, the yields of the irrigated soybeans are below 60 sacks per hectare (3,600 kg/ha or 52.2 bu/ac).

While the irrigation saved the crop from more significant yield reductions, it came at a higher cost than normal. Farmers are reporting that they had to run the center pivots more often than normal resulting in a 20% increase in energy costs that in some cases, totaled R$ 420 per hectare or approximately US$ 45 per acre.

The news of course is expected to be much worse for the non-irrigated soybeans that suffered under the same hot and dry conditions for nearly the entire growing season. The early maturing soybeans were impacted the most because the crop was filling pods under adverse conditions. The Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea) conducted an on-line survey on December 16-18 and reported that 43% of the soybeans in the state were rated in poor or very poor condition. Earlier in December, Imea had reduced their estimate of the state's soybean production by 1.0 million tons to 28 million.