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February 12, 2015

Soy-Free Dates in Mato Grosso set from May 1st to September 15th

After yet another modification, the official dates for the new soybean-free period in the state of Mato Grosso were officially published earlier this week in the state's newspaper. The dates for the soybean-free period in the state will be from May 1st to September 15th (138 days) starting in the 2015/16 growing season. The prior period, which was in place since the mid-2000s was from June 15th to September 15th.

According to Wanderlei Dias Guerra, the coordinator of the plant protection bureau for the state of Mato Grosso, the purpose of the extended soybean-free period is to help control the spread of soybean rust from one growing season to the next and to help preserve the efficacy of fungicides used to combat the disease. The new rules will prohibit the planting of safrinha soybeans in the state. The new dates replace the preliminary dates of June 1st to September 30th that had been proposed last December.

The Soybean and Corn Producers Association of Mato Grosso (Aprosoja) still objects to the May 1st starting date. Their objection is based on the fact that the early starting date would prevent farmers from growing a second crop of soybeans for their own seed production. They had agreed that growing a second crop of soybeans for commercial sale should be prohibited, but they wanted to retain the option of a second crop of soybeans for seed increase purposes.

Scientists attested that the longer soybean free period would also delay the development of fungicide resistance. It only takes about ten days for rust to complete its like cycle and the longer there are soybeans in the field, the more life cycles the rust can complete, thus the greater the potential for fungicide resistant rust to develop.

The new dates will only take affect for the 2015/16 growing season and any second crop soybeans planted this growing season will be exempt. Farmers can still plant a second crop of corn, cotton, or other crops that are economically viable.

The prior proposal in December had pushed back the end of the soybean free period until September 30th, which would have delayed the start of the soybean planting in Mato Grosso until that date. That in turn, would have delayed the start of the harvest and therefore the start of the soybeans exports from Brazil as well. But, with the end of the soybean-free period being set at September 15th, which is the same as it is now, there will be no impact on dates of planting, harvesting, or the start of exports.