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January 28, 2015

Early Soybean Harvest in Mato Grosso off to Surprisingly Fast Start

The dryer than normal weather in Mato Grosso during most of January has prompted a quick maturation of the early maturing soybeans in the state. The Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea) estimated that as of late last week, approximately 8% of the soybeans in the state had been harvested which is faster than what had been expected given the delayed planting last October. A month ago before the dryer pattern started early in January, Imea had estimated that only 6% of the state's soybeans would be harvested by the end of January. That figure now may end up closer to 10%.

The forecast is calling for increased chances of rainfall this week and next week and there has been increased rainfall activity across the state this week. As the humidity levels rise, farmers are actively harvesting their soybeans even though the soybeans might still be at a higher moisture than what is ideal for harvest.

There are reports that farmers are harvesting their soybeans at 20% moisture instead of leaving the grain dry in the field. These high moisture soybeans will have be dried to 13.5%, which is an additional cost, but that is preferred to leaving the soybeans in the field and running the risk of reduced yields and poor quality grain due to excessive rainfall. That is exactly what happened last year when a prolonged period of wet weather in January resulted in lost yields and very poor quality soybeans.

The yields of these early maturing soybeans have been variable because the crop was impacted by the dry weather in October and then again by dry weather in January at the end of the pod filling period. If the rainfall does pick up as predicted, it could help stabilize the yields of the later maturing soybeans which will be harvested during the second half of February.