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January 20, 2016

Changeable Weather Impacting Brazilian Crops

A few weeks ago the farmers in central and northeastern Brazil were very worried about a lack of rainfall and what the dry conditions might do to the yields of the early maturing soybeans. The situation now is just the opposite, now they are worried about too much rainfall and how the excessive wet conditions might impact the harvesting of the early maturing soybeans and the seed quality. The soybeans in Mato Grosso are less than 2% harvested and there are reports of seeds germinating in the pods and unfortunately, there are daily rains in the forecast for the rest of January. On the positive side, these rains are beneficial for the later maturing soybeans that are now filling pods.

Northeastern Brazil was extremely dry during November and December, but since the first of the year, the region has received heavy rains with more rain in the forecast. In western Bahia, the forecast is calling for as much as 8 inches of rain over the next 72 hours. Farmers in the region are trying to complete their soybean and cotton planting, but the wet conditions are slowing down the planting progress.

While northern Brazil was very dry during November and December, southern Brazil was inundated with very heavy rainfall, but the weather in far southern Brazil has completely changed. In the municipality of Carazinha in northern Rio Grande do Sul, they received 580 mm of rainfall in December (23 inches), but thus far in January, they have received only 37 mm of rainfall (1.4 inches). The farmers in the region are starting to get concerned because the soybean crop is shallow rooted due to the excessive moisture in November and December and the crop could develop moisture deficits relatively quickly.

The soybeans in Rio Grande do Sul are now flowering and starting to fill pods just as the weather has turned dryer. There is no rain in the forecast until sometime next week and in the meantime, temperatures are expected to be in the mid-90F range.

In between northern and far southern Brazil lies the states of Mato Grosso do Sul, Parana, and Sao Paulo where the forecast is calling for more torrential rainfall. In the municipality of Douradina, which is located in southern Mato Grosso do Sul, many areas are still saturated from previous rains and now the forecast is calling for as much as 300 mm (12 inches) over the last 13 days of January. Some of the early maturing soybeans in the region are ready for harvest, but the forecasted wet weather will result in more standing water and delayed harvest activity.

The early soybean harvest in Parana is also being delayed by wet conditions with reports of seeds sprouting in the pods. Early yield reports from Parana indicate that the yields are below expectations probably due to a lack of sunshine and higher incidences of soybean rust this growing season. Parana has 121 confirmed cases of soybean rust which is 40% of all the cases in Brazil thus far this growing season.

Estimates of the 2015/16 Brazilian soybean estimates varies widely. Conab is the official government estimate for Brazil and they are expecting a 2015/16 soybean production of 102.1 million tons. The USDA is expecting 100.0 million tons followed by Safras e Mercado at 99.8 million tons, Celeres at 99.8 million tons, Agroconsult at 99.2 million tons, Franca Junior Consulting at 97.9 million tons, and Agrinvest at 97-98 million tons.