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January 28, 2016

Rainfall in Northeastern Brazil goes from Scant to Excessive

As the growing season in northeastern Brazil progressed, farmers in the region complained about a lack of rainfall that was delaying their planting activity. Since the first of January though, the skies have opened up with torrential rains and now the farmers are complaining that they can't get into the fields to finish planting their 2015/16 soybean crop.

Meteorologists in Brazil are forecasting more rainfall in the region for the next ten days before a drying trend returns. The farmers in western Bahia, Maranhao, Piaui, and Tocantins who have not finished planting are being advised by agronomists that it is now too late to plant soybeans or even to replant fields that may have been drowned out.

This region, which is known as Matopiba (the first two letters of each state's name), produces approximately 10% of Brazil's soybean crop, but there are now doubts if farmers in the region were able to plant all their intended soybeans. There are also concerns that the wet conditions are keeping them from applying needed chemical treatments to combat diseases and insects.

Agricultural production in northeastern Brazil can be a challenge because the summer rains usually arrive later in northeastern Brazil than in other parts of the country and they end earlier leaving much of the region with a semi-arid climate. One big advantage farmers have in the region is the close proximity to export facilities which greatly reduced the cost of transportation.