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January 22, 2021

Improved Weather is Increasing Soy Yields in Mato Grosso do Sul

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

At the start of the growing season, farmers in southern Brazil were very concerned that dry weather would delay planting and result in lower than anticipated yields. Planting in fact, was delayed, but subsequent improvement in the weather now have farmers anticipating very good soybean yields.

In the municipality of Maracaju, which is located in southern Mato Grosso do Sul, the soybean planting was delayed by at least a month due to dry conditions. Farmers started planting their soybeans about October 15th and finished sometime in November. Even with the delayed start, most of the soybeans in the municipality were planted within an acceptable planting window.

The weather improved slowly in November and it got much better starting the second half of December. Thus far during the month of January, the municipality has received over 300 mm of precipitation (12 inches), which has already exceeded the monthly average.

As a result, the President of the Rural Syndicate of Maracaju estimates that 95% of the soybeans are rated in good conditions. He is estimating that the soybean yield in the region could approach 70 sacks per hectare (62.5 bu/ac), which would be 6 sacks per hectare (5.3 bu/ac) higher than last year's yield of 64 sacks per hectare (57.2 bu/ac).

The 2019/20 soybean yields in the region were considered good, so even higher yields this year is another indication that good weather during the soybean pod filling period can compensate for a problematic start to the growing season.

The soybean harvest in the region will be concentrated from February 10th to the end of March. Farmers are currently being advised to closely monitor their soybean fields for late season pests and diseases such as soybean rust and be prepared to apply control measures if necessary.

Many farmers will plant a second crop of corn immediately after the soybeans are harvested. If wet weather does not delay the soybean harvest, there should be enough time to plant most of the safrinha corn within the appropriate planting window. Even if the safrinha corn planting is delayed into March, farmers are still expected to plant all their intended corn acreage due to the very strong domestic corn prices.

By some accounts, Brazilian farmers may be able to achieve a 50% profit margin on their 2020/21 safrinha corn production, which is a strong incentive to get their corn planted as soon as possible after the soybeans are harvested.