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February 12, 2013

Wet Weather Continues to Delay Harvesting in Mato Grosso

It was a very wet week in Mato Grosso last week. A stalled out frontal system lead to instability and heavy rainfall throughout the state. Our rain gauge in Rondonopolis recorded 5.4 inches for the week and there was measurable rain on 5 out of 7 days last week. The wet weather has slowed the soybean harvest pace and led to poor seed quality and lower yields. The Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea) estimates that 17% of the soybeans in the state have been harvested as of late last week compared to 24% last year at this time. The Mato Grosso Agriculture and Livestock Federation (Famato) estimates that the wet weather has resulted in a 10% reduction in the early maturing soybean yield potential across the state.

The ideal weather for this time of year in Mato Grosso would be sunny mornings followed by afternoon showers. That would allow for harvest activity to take place during the sunny periods while still supplying the needed moisture for the later developing soybeans. Convective afternoon showers in Mato Grosso can be very localized in nature allowing for harvest activity to continue at one end of a field while it might be raining at the other end of the field!

The type of weather that farmers do not want to see is the weather that is happening right now across the state where the skies are constantly overcast and it might rain at any given time. Without any sunny breaks, it's hard for the mature soybean plants to dry off enough to allow the combines back into the fields. The constant overcast skies also limit the amount of photosynthesis taking place, which can sometimes result in somewhat disappointing soybean yields.

The wet weather is also delaying the planting of the 2012/13 safrinha corn (see later article) and cotton crops as well. Imea estimates that 85% of the intended cotton acreage in the state has been planted, which is 11% behind the planting pace of last year. The cotton acreage in the state is expected to decline 30% to 1.39 million hectares as farmers opted for more safrinha corn instead of cotton. The official cotton planting window in Mato Grosso closed at the end of January and agronomist are advising farmers who have not yet planted their cotton to switch to safrinhaP corn instead. Imea expects the cotton production in the state to decline by 24% in 2012/13.