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January 24, 2013

Variable Yields Reported for Early Soy Harvest in M. Grosso do Sul

One of the biggest trends in Brazilian agriculture in recent years has been the huge increase in second crop corn production. In order to allow enough time for a second crop of corn, Brazilian farmers have been planting more and more early maturing soybeans. If these soybeans are planted during the late September or early October, they can be harvested in January allowing enough time for the corn crop to complete filling the grain before the end of the rainy season.

One problem with these early maturing soybeans is that they are generally lower yielding than later maturing soybeans. They also have a shorter period for filling the pods making them more vulnerable to periods of dry weather. That is apparently what has happened this year to some of the early maturing soybeans in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul in Brazil.

Early soybean yield reports from the state indicate a wide variability in soybean yields An agronomist from the Agriculture Federation of Mato Grosso do Sul (Famasul) visited 32 soybean farms around the city of Dourados last week and reported that eight of the farms had yield losses varying from 10% to 50%. Dourados is located in the southern part of the state where there were two periods of dry weather between September and the end of December.

The rainfall has been much better in the northern part of the state and as a result, early soybean yields are reported to be very good. The best fields in northern Mato Grosso do Sul are yielding up to 60 sacks per hectare (3,600 kg/ha or 52 bu/ac), whereas the worst fields in the southern part of the state are yielding as low as 30 sacks per hectare (1,800 kg/ha or 26 bu/ac). The extension service in the state is expecting the statewide soybean yield to average 3,000 kg/ha or 43.5 bu/ac. If achieved, that would represent a significant improvement over the drought plagued crop of 2011/12.

Only a few percent of the soybeans in the state have been harvested, which is about average for this time of the year. The harvest pace will increase as weather permits and more soybeans reach harvest maturity.