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February 23, 2012

Too Much Rain in Central Brazil, Too Little in Southern Brazil

After a brief period of dryer weather over the last two weeks, rainfall has once again slowed the soybean harvest in Mato Grosso. Farmers in the state started the soybean harvest seven weeks ago and they have only managed to harvest 35% to 40% of the 2011/12 soybean crop. Mato Grosso farmers planted 6.8 million hectares of soybeans and they are expecting to harvest approximately 22 million tons of soybeans.

The two municipalities where the soybean harvest is most advanced (55% complete) include Sorriso in central Mato Grosso and Sapezal in western Mato Grosso. Farmers in Sorriso planted 610,000 hectares of soybeans and in Sapezal they planted 362,000 hectares.

As the soybean harvest slowly progresses, the farmers are also planting their safrinha corn crop. According to the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea), approximately 57% to 60% of the 2.2 million hectares of safrinha corn have been planted. The safrinha planting progress is actually ahead of last year, but planting was extremely slow last growing season due to heavy rains during the month of February. The highest concentration of safrinha corn production is in central Mato Grosso where 61% of the crop has already been planted. The number one municipality in Mato Grosso for safrinha corn production is Sorriso where farmers have already planted 75% of their 300,000 hectares of safrinha corn.

While too much rain is falling in Mato Grosso, just the opposite has been inflicting the farmers in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul where they have been suffering from a prolonged drought during most of the growing season. The state government recently announced emergency measures to help the farmers in the municipalities most impacted by the drought. The top priority of the state government is to help the farmers in the municipalities where they have suffered 60% to 90% losses in their agricultural production. The losses are calculated based on their estimated production of corn, soybeans, dry beans, horticultural crops, livestock, and dairy production.

Even though there were some scattered showers in the state over the last two days, the amount of rainfall received was too little to reverse the ongoing drought. Approximately 80% of the municipalities in the state have already declared a state of emergency in preparation for receiving state aid.