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February 7, 2014

Dry Weather Impacts Soybean Yields in Goias

Dry weather since mid-December has negatively impacted the soybean yields in the Brazilian state of Goias. The Agriculture and Livestock Federation of Goias (Faeg) estimates that the soybean yields in the state have already declined 6% and that they may be down as much as 15% due to the dry weather in the state that started in mid-December. In the worst case scenario, farmers in the state may lose up to 1.6 million tons of soybeans. In their last monthly report, Conab estimated that the state would produce 9.5 million tons of soybeans, which would make it the fourth largest soybean producing state in Brazil.

Rainfall during the first half of the growing season was normal until mid-December when the rains became more isolated and irregular. Approximately 75% of the soybean producing region of Goias has been impacted by the irregular rains. Unfortunately, the dry weather set in just as the soybeans were entering into the pod filling period, which is when the soybean yields are largely determined.

Rainfall during January and February has been half the normal amount and the forecast for the remainder of February and the month of March is also calling for below normal precipitation. The resulting soil moisture deficit has been more acute with the sandier soils that have lower water holding capacity.

As the early maturing soybeans are being harvested in Goias, farmers must decide to whether or not plant a second crop of corn in the midst of the drought-like conditions. If they decide to plant, the dry conditions could impact the germination and the stand establishment of the safrinha corn crop.

While the soybean yields in Goias is expected to be disappointing, just the opposite is expected from the neighboring state of Mato Grosso. Early yield results in Mato Grosso have been very good and the state will certainly produce a record large soybean crop in 2013/14. Conab is currently estimating that the state will produce 26 million tons of soybeans and that figure may be increased in their February report which will be issued next week.