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January 13, 2016

Relatively Slow Start to Soybean Harvesting in Brazil

In a more normal year, the state of Mato Grosso usually leads the way for soybean harvesting in Brazil, but this has not been a normal year. Hot and dry conditions in the state from September through December led to a slow planting pace and a lot of the early planted soybeans had to be replanted due to poor germination and inadequate plant populations. The combination of slow planting and the need to replant some of the soybeans is now leading to a slow start to harvesting.

Instead of ramping up the harvest in Mato Grosso by mid-January, this year the harvest will not peak until later in January or early February. The Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea) estimated late last week that 0.3% of the soybeans in the state had been harvested compared to 2% harvested last year at this time. The early soybean harvest in Mato Grosso is also being slowed down somewhat by the recent wet weather.

The 0.3% represents approximately 25,000 hectares of the 9.1 million planted in the state. Imea reported late last week that the average yield thus far in the state has been 50.6 sacks per hectare (3,036 kg/ha or 44.0 bu/ac). Many of the soybeans harvested thus far have been irrigated soybeans that were plated immediately after the soybean-free period ended on September 15th and many of these irrigated soybeans will be followed by a second crop of cotton.

The early soybean harvest has also started in western Parana. The Department of Rural Economics for the state of Parana (Deral) indicated last week that the first harvest activity is underway in Pato Branco in southwestern Parana and in Cascavel in western Parana.

It is very early in the harvest season of course, but the early harvest reports point to yields generally below expectations. Here is a brief summation of the harvest reports thus far.

  • Sapazel in western Mato Grosso - farmers are expecting losses of 5-10%, they anticipated yields of 50-52 sacks per hectare (43.5 to 45.2 bu/ac) and they are getting 35 sacks per hectare (30.4 bu/ac). The reason for the lower yields were periods of hot and dry weather during the growing season.
  • Irrigated soybeans in western Mato Grosso - farmers expected 55-60 sacks per hectare (48-52 bu/ac) and they are getting 50 sacks per hectare (43.5 bu/ac). The reason for the lower yields are the high temperatures in November and December (100-104 degrees F) and the fact that the center pivots could keep up with the water demand of the crop.
  • Sorriso in central Mato Grosso - farmers are expecting losses of 25-30% compared to what was expected at the start of the growing season. The reason for the lower yield expectations is the hot and dry weather during November and December.
  • First 25,000 hectares of soybeans harvested in Mato Grosso - Imea is estimating that the average yield of the first 25,000 hectares of soybeans harvested in the state is 50.6 sacks per hectare or 44 bu/ac. During the last two years, the state has averaged 51.9 sacks per hectare or 45.1 bu/ac.
  • AgRural Brazilian estimates:
    • AgRural lowered their estimate of the 2015/16 Brazilian soybean crop to 98.7 million tons. In early December they estimated the crop at 99.7 million tons and at the start of the growing season, they had estimated the crop at 100.2 million tons.
    • AgRural lowered their average soybean yield for the state of Mato Grosso to 49 sacks per hectare (2,940 kg/ha or 42.6 bu/ac), which was down 2.5 sacks per hectare from their December estimate of 51.5 sacks per hectare (3,090 kg/ha or 44.8 bu/ac).
    • Early soybean yields from Sinop in northern Mato Grosso are in the range of 35 sacks per hectare or 30.4 bu/ac.
    • Early yields in Canarana in eastern Mato Grosso are expected to be down 20%.
    • Early yields in Lucas do Rio Verde in central Mato Grosso are in the range of 20 to 50 sacks per hectare or 17.4 to 43.5 bu/ac.
    • Early yields in Campo Verde in southeastern Mato Grosso are 35 to 60 sacks per hectare or 30.4 to 52.2 bu/ac.
    • Irrigated soybeans in Primavera do Leste in southeastern Mato Grosso are yielding 62 sacks per hectare or 53.9 bu/ac.
  • Pato Branco in southwestern Parana - Farmers were expecting 55-60 sacks per hectare (48-52 bu/ac) and they are getting 40-50 sacks per hectare (35-43 bu/ac). The lower yields are being attributed to a lack of sunshine during the growing season due to the excessive rainfall.
  • First 1,500 hectares of soybeans harvested in Parana - Approximately 1,500 hectares have been harvested in Parana with an average yield of 53 sacks per hectare (3,180 kg/ha or 46 bu/ac).

The first harvest results out of Mato Grosso this year will be the lowest because the early maturing or early planted soybeans were impacted the most by the adverse weather during November and December. The later planted or later maturing soybeans will benefit from the recent improvement in rainfall. The later soybeans in Mato Grosso will not be harvested until February.