January 16, 2015

Dry Weather in Brazil Impacting Early Maturing Soybeans

The recent dryer than normal rainfall pattern in central, eastern, and southeastern Brazil has many farmers worried about the potential yields of their early maturing soybeans. For the last several weeks, the rainfall in this region of Brazil has been in the form of isolated afternoon thunderstorms which have not been heavy enough or widespread enough to erase the building moisture deficit. The temperatures in the region have also been higher than normal increasing the water demand for the crop.

In the municipality of Unai, which is located in western Minas Gerais, farmers are reporting that it has not rained for approximately three weeks and the temperatures have been hotter than normal. The biggest impact thus far has been on the early maturing soybeans that were planted during the second half of September. Farmers in the region had expected the early maturing soybeans to yield 60 sacks per hectare (3,600 kg/ha or 52 bu/ac), but they have lowered their expectations to approximately 50 sacks per hectare (3,000 kg/ha or 43.5 bu/ac).

The dry weather hit the early maturing soybeans just as the crop was filling pods, which is a critical time for soybeans. Farmers are expecting better yield results from their medium and later maturing soybeans because the later soybeans will be able to recuperate if the rainfall amounts improve over the next few weeks. The rains are forecasted to return to more normal levels during the third week of January. Other crops such as dry beans and full-season corn have also been impacted by the dry weather.

A similar situation is also being reported in southern Mato Grosso do Sul. In the municipality of Laguna Carapa farmers are also concerned about the impact of the dry weather on their early maturing soybeans. The region has been two weeks without rain and farmers have now scaled back their expectations for the early maturing soybeans from 60 sacks per hectare (3,600 kg/ha or 52 bu/ac) to 40 sacks per hectare (2,400 kg/ha or 35 bu/ac). The yields of the later maturing soybeans could still be OK if the weather improves.

Farmers all across central Brazil plant early maturing soybeans in order to allow enough time to plant a second crop of corn. Farmers are prepared to start planting their safrinha corn crop as soon as the early maturing soybeans are harvested, but they are worried about the dryer than normal weather pattern.

In the state of Mato Grosso many areas have been 15 to 20 days with below normal rainfall although it has not been completely dry. The temperatures have been hotter than normal adding to the water demand of the crop. The early maturing soybeans that were planted during the second half of September have been impacted the most thus far, but if the weather patterns improve, the later maturing soybeans are expected to achieve normal yields.

In contrast to central and eastern Brazil, the rainfall has been adequate or even excessive in the southern Brazilian states of Parana, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul.