Back
January 16, 2013

Rains in Central Brazil Improve Soybean Prospects

The soybean crop in central Brazil benefited from some of the best rains of the summer growing season last week. The rains came as welcomed relief to farmers who had become concerned about the scattered nature of the rainfall over the last month and a half. The irregular nature of the rainfall led to pockets of dryness in eastern Mato Grosso, Goias, and Bahia. In many of the dryer areas of central Brazil, the recent rains were the first generalized rainfall thus far this growing season. Most of the soybeans in the region were planted later than normal due to the delayed onset of the summer showers, so the crop will benefit from the additional moisture as the pods are being filled.

The irregular rains did impact some of the early maturing soybeans that may have been filling pods during the dryer than normal weather. In parts of Goias for example, it rained 110 mm over a three day period, which is forty percent of the normal monthly total for January.

The rainfall could impede some of the early harvest progress in Mato Grosso. If the soybeans are mature and the rainy weather keeps the combines out of the field, the soybean seed quality could start to deteriorate as the seeds swell inside the pods. In extreme cases, the seed may sprout inside the pods if the wet weather persists for an extended period of time.

According to the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea), as of January 10th, approximately 1% of Mato Grosso's 7.8 million hectares of soybeans have been harvested, which is about the same as last year at this time. Imea estimates that in the municipality of Sorriso, which is located in central Mato Grosso, the farmers have harvested approximately 3% of the 633,000 hectares of soybeans grown in the municipality. Sorriso is the largest soybean producing municipality in Brazil.

In the municipality of Lucas do Rio Verde, also located in central Mato Grosso, 3% of the 266,000 hectares of soybeans have been harvested. This is the municipality where generally the first soybeans are planted in Brazil. The harvest pace in the municipality of Campo Verde, located in southeastern Mato Grosso, is a little more advanced at 4% of the 209,000 hectares. The harvest pace is probably the fastest in Sapezal, which is located in western Mato Grosso, where 5.5% of the 366,000 hectares have been harvested.

The soybean yields being reported in these municipalities are generally good but variable depending on the frequency of the scattered rains thus far this growing season. The most frequent yield being reported is probably 50 sacks per hectare (3,000 kg/ha or 43.5 bu/ac) with a high of 60 sacks per hectare (3,600 kg/ha or 52.2 bu/ac) and a low of 35 sacks per hectare (2,100 kg/ha or 30.4 bu/ac). Most farmers feel the scattered showers during December impacted the early maturing soybeans because they were filling pods during the periods of dryness. Most farmers are expecting the yields to improve with the medium and later maturing varieties.

The near term forecast is for the rain to continue throughout most of Brazil with the exception being the state of Rio Grande do Sul, in far southern Brazil. In that state, there is no rain in the forecast for the next two weeks. The soybean crop could be impacted if there is an extended period of dryness in the state.