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January 26, 2021

2020/21 Brazil Soybean Harvest 0.7% vs. 4.2% Last Year

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

The 2020/21 Brazilian soybeans were 0.7% harvested as of late last week compared to 4.2% last year according to AgRural. This represents an advance of 0.3% for the week. The recent rains have slowed some of the early soybean harvest, but they have been beneficial for the later developing soybeans. The heavy overcast skies and frequent rains of recent weeks have slowed the maturation of some of the soybeans, which will slow the early Brazilian soybean harvest even more.

The Brazilian soybean estimates are increasing because the weather has gotten much better over the last few weeks and soybeans can respond to improved weather during pod filling. After a dry and problematic start to the growing season, the weather during January has been a more typical summer rainy season especially across central Brazil.

The early maturing soybeans, which will be about the first 5-10% of the soybeans harvested, will have disappointing yields maybe 10-15 bushels less than anticipated due to the fact that dry weather during November and early December hurt pod filling. The yields of the later maturing soybeans should be fine because of the improved conditions during the time when the pods were filling.

Everything is not perfect in Brazil and we still need to watch the weather during February. The southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul finally received some good rains over the past week which helped to recharge the depleted soil moisture. The soybeans in the state are now starting to flower, so the crop will continue to need rain through February. The short term forecast is calling for additional rainfall in the state.

Northeastern Brazil is the other area that needs watching. The rainfall has improved in northeastern Brazil, but not enough to insure a complete recharge of the soil moisture. The soybeans in northeastern Brazil are also some of the latest maturing soybeans in Brazil, so the area will need additional rainfall into March to insure good yields.

If the weather continues to improve in Rio Grande do Sul and in northeastern Brazil, the Brazilian soybean estimates will continue to move higher.

Mato Grosso - The soybean crop in Mato Grosso was 2.2% harvested last week compared to 14.4% last year and 11.7% average. The soybean harvest is most advanced in the western part of the state at 5.3%.

Most of the soybeans being harvested in Mato Grosso were planted as soon as the "soybean-free" period ended on September 15th. Some of these soybeans were irrigated and some were dryland. Most of the early yields continue to be disappointing because the soybeans were impacted by dry weather during pod filling. Initial soybean yields are in the range of 40 sacks per hectare (36 bu/ac), but once the harvest gets past the first 5-10% of the crop, the yields should return to more normal levels. The early yields are not uniform because the rainfall was highly variable.

Below is the graph from the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea) showing the soybean harvest pace in Mato Grosso. The red line is 2020/21, the blue line is 2019/20, the dotted line is average, and the green area is the maximum and minimum over the last 5 years.

map

Parana Soybeans - The weather in Parana started to improve about mid-December and it continues to improve. Earlier in the growing season, farmers were worried about dry conditions, but ample rainfall has put most of those fears to rest. The concern now is to control soybean rust and other diseases and pests until the main harvest gets underway in February.

As of earlier last week, the soybeans in Parana were 5% in vegetative development, 36% flowering, 55% filling pods, and 4% maturing. The crop was rated 3% poor, 14% average, and 83% good.

In the municipality of Palotina, which is located in western Parana, farmers have harvested their irrigated soybeans and yields have been in the range of 85 sacks per hectare (76 bu/ac). Irrigated soybeans represent 5-7% of the soybeans in the municipality. The yield of the dryland soybeans will not be as good as the irrigated soybeans, but farmers are expecting good dryland yields as well.

Up until this point, farmers had forward contracted 40% of their anticipated production, but now that they are more certain about their potential production, forward sales are expected to accelerate. The current soybean price in the state is in the range of R$ 150 per sack ($12.86 per bushel).

Rio Grande do Sul Soybeans - The soybeans in the state are now starting to flower, so rainfall will be critical during February and March. The crop was planted a little later than normal so the harvest will start about mid-March. Rainfall in the state has improved over the last few weeks and there is more rain in the forecast for this week.