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December 31, 2015

Farmers in Piaui ask for Waver to Plant Soybeans Later than Normal

The Soybean and Corn Producer Association of Piaui (Aprosoja/PI) has asked the Brazilian Minister of Agriculture to allow farmers in the state to plant their 2015/16 soybeans later than what is allowed under the Minister's guidelines. They want farmers in this northeastern Brazilian state to be allowed to plant soybeans until January 31st. The reason for the request is the fact that if farmers plant their soybeans later than what the guidelines call for, they may not be eligible for farm programs offered by the government or crop insurance. The Minister has not yet responded to the request, but it is expected to be granted. Piaui would then join the states of Mato Grosso and Goias in allowing farmers to plant their 2015/16 soybeans later than normal.

Prolonged dry weather in the region has kept many farmers from planting the majority of their soybeans. The director of Aprosoja/PI, Rafael Maschio, reported to Canal Rural that this has been one of the worst years for planting their summer crops. The drought has impacted the entire state except for a few lucky farmers who received isolated showers. As of earlier this week, it is estimated that only 35% of the intended soybeans in the state had been planted with some farmers only managing to plant 5-10% of their intended soybeans.

During the month of October, the state usually receives 100mm of rainfall (4 inches), but only 30-40% of that fell this year. During the month of November, the state expects 150 mm (6 inches), but only 33% of that amount fell and the weather during December was very similar.

Piaui is one of the states in northeastern Brazil where soybean expansion has been occurring over the last decade. Cheap land and lower cost of transportation to nearby ports has attracted many farmers from southern Brazil to move to the region to plant soybeans. The climate of the state though is borderline semi-arid, so ample summer rainfall is never a sure thing in the state.

According to estimates from Conab, the state of Piaui is expected to plant approximately 710,000 hectares of soybeans in 2015/16 or about 2.1% of Brazil's total. Conab is estimating that the state will produce approximately 2 million tons of soybeans. Other states in northeastern Brazil such as Bahia, Maranhao, and Tocantins have also experienced delays in getting their soybeans planting and the region as a whole plants approximately 10% of Brazil's soybeans.