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February 24, 2014

Wet Weather Delays Soy Harvest and Corn Planting in Brazil

Wet weather over the last several weeks in Mato Grosso is diminishing farmer's hopes for a record soybean crop as well as delaying the planting of the safrinhacorn crop. Heavy rains have washed out bridges, interrupting traffic on the state's main highway, flooded soybean fields waiting to be harvested and covered small emerging corn plants.

Some farmers have harvested their soybeans at high moisture in order to allow enough time to plant safrinha corn only to find that their grain is being discounted by as much as 12% when they deliver it to the grain elevator. In addition to delaying the soybean harvest, the nearly constant wet weather is also delaying the planting of the safrinha corn crop in the center-west region of Brazil. The safrinha corn should have been planted by now, but approximately half of the crop has yet to be seeded. The later the corn is planted, the higher the risk that the crop will run out of moisture before the grain filling is complete.

The wet weather is also increasing the incidence of soybean rust on the late maturing soybeans. Farmers are reporting that the seeds at the bottom of the plant have been most impacted by the rust. The earlier maturing soybeans escaped much of the rust damage because they were already harvested when the wet weather started.

In the state of Mato Grosso do Sul only half of the anticipated safrinha corn acreage has been planted due to the slow soybean harvest. State officials are expecting the safrinha corn production to be down by as much as 10% compared to last year due to reduced use of technology. Statewide corn yields are expected to be 78 sacks per hectare (4,680 kg/ha or 72 bu/ac) compared to the 83 sacks per hectare produced last year (4,980 kg/ha or 77 bu/ac).

Approximately 60% of the soybeans in the state have been harvested and the statewide production estimate has been reduced slightly from 6.1 to 6.0 million tons due to dry weather earlier in the growing season.