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February 20, 2015

Mato Grosso Farmers free to Plant Safrinha Soy this Growing Season

With the adoption of the new soybean-free dates for the 2015/16 growing season in the state of Mato Grosso, there has been come confusion among farmers concerning safrinha soybean production for this growing season (2014/15). To clear up the confusion, the State Economic Development Secretary (Sedec) and the Plant and Livestock Protection Institute (Indea) reaffirmed this week that farmers in the state can still plant safrinha soybeans if they wish this growing season with the stipulation that the soybeans must be harvested by June 1, 2015.

The director of Indea guaranteed a farmer's right to plant a second crop of soybeans if they wished for the remainder of this growing season. He also stated that starting on June 1st, they will have technicians in the field to check for any live soybean plants. His organization is also responsible for certifying that the cattle herd in the state is vaccinated against foot and mouth disease and he stated that they were able to visit 3,000 properties within a 30 day period to monitor the vaccination. Therefore, his agency will have enough technicians out in the countryside starting June 1st to find any live soybean plants.

Very few farmers are ever fined for having commercial soybeans growing after the prohibition period begins. Nearly all the violations are for volunteer soybeans that germinate in the field, along the side of the roadway, or around storage and transportation facilities.

The fine for violating the rule is US$ 1,157.00 plus US$ 77.00 per hectare of prohibited soybeans. If a farmer was found to have 1,000 hectares of prohibited commercial soybean production, the total fine would be US$ 78,300 and the prohibited soybeans must also be destroyed at the farmer's expense. If the technicians find an occasional volunteer soybean growing in the field or around storage facilities, they notify the landowner who then has 10 days to eliminate the plants.

Starting with the 2015/16 growing season, the soybean-free period will start on May 1st and end on September 15th. During that period no live soybean plants are allowed in the state, either commercial production or volunteer soybeans. Even though the lengthened soybean-free period would not allow enough time to plant a second crop of soybeans, the rules prohibit any attempt to plant a second crop of soybeans either for commercial production or for seed increase. Indea is also going to set up a hotline for farmers to report any violations.

In a similar vein, the director of Indea indicated that he will promote legislation designed to increase the quality standards for seed sales in the state. More than half of the soybeans seed sold in Mato Grosso is produced outside the state and farmers have complained of poor seed quality. Current legislation allows soybean seed to be sold with germination as low as 80%. Seed quality monitoring is the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture and Indea is going to petition the Ministry of Agriculture to authorize Indea to certify seed quality standards in the state.