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January 24, 2017

Last Week was a Wet Week in Mato Grosso, Brazil

We are now in the city of Cuiaba, which is the capital of Mato Grosso and incidentally, the Brazilian state capital with the highest average yearly temperature. We have been in Mato Grosso for ten days and it has rained every day since we have been here. It is warm and humid with light/heavy showers any time of the day, or multiple times during the day. Sunday morning was a real tropical down pour and my guess is that it rained at least several inches.

We have traveled about a thousand kilometers across the state since we have been here and we have not seen any combines in the field or any planters planting safrinha corn. We did see one farmer spraying and I assumed he was spraying for rust. The soybean production in Brazil is very spread out, so I can only comment on the areas where we traveled. The weather has been much dryer in far southern Brazil.

The weather forecast for this week looks better with reduced chances of rainfall across Mato Grosso and central Brazil. Today (Monday afternoon) it is hot, partly cloudy and I think we might through the day without rain.

There are both positives and negatives concerning the Brazilian soybean crop. On the positive side, the weather has been good this growing season and there is ample moisture for the later maturing soybeans that are now in the midst of pod filling. Early yield reports have also been better than expected.

On the negative side, it has been very wet and some of the early maturing soybeans are waiting in the rain and they should have been harvested several weeks ago. There are still concerns about dry weather in northeastern Brazil and the return of hot and dry conditions in far southern Brazil, especially Rio Grande do Sul.

In Mato Grosso and central Brazil I would estimate that probably 15% of the soybeans are either approaching maturity or have been harvested with another 30% starting to turn yellow. The remaining 55% are setting pods/filling pods. The earlier maturing soybeans don't look very good, but the later maturing soybeans look really good.

There are a lot of soybeans that are mature and are waiting to be harvested in central Brazil. It looked like to me that some of the earliest maturing fields should have been harvested several weeks ago. The normal color of mature soybeans is a tannish brown, but the color of some of these fields is now a dark brown/black color. The darker color indicates that fungal activity is increasing.

The later maturity soybeans look very good and despite the recent wet weather and the current temporary delay in harvesting, I still think the yields in Mato Grosso will be very good. A very reliable source from one of the biggest farming operation in Mato Grosso indicated to me that the yields thus far on their 125,000 hectares of soybeans have been running 3 sacks/ha or 2.6 bu/ac above their original expectations. They have harvested about 25% of their soybeans. If anything, their later maturing soybeans might be even better.