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January 8, 2014

Harvest Picks Up in Mato Grosso, Dry Concerns in Central Brazil

Farmers in Mato Grosso are starting to harvest what is expected to be a record large soybean crop. Approximately 1% of the state's soybeans have been harvested and that will increase quickly this week and next week as more soybeans mature. Early yield reports out of Mato Grosso indicate yields higher than last year in the range of upper 40s to low 50s bushels per acre. These are very good yields for the early maturing soybeans that are now being harvested.

Abundant rainfall during December allowed for good pod filling and diseases and pests have generally been kept under control. The soybean harvest in Mato Grosso will ramp up in mid-January and it should be more concentrated than normal due to the concentrated planting. Approximately 2 million hectares of soybeans were planted (24% of the 8.4 million hectares planted in the state this growing season) in the state during a one week period in late October and all those soybeans will mature in late January.

The news out of parts of central and southern Brazil is not quite as positive. Dry weather during December resulted in moisture stress developing for the soybeans grown in southern Mato Grosso do Sul, western Parana, and parts of northern Rio Grande do Sul.

According to reports from the Soybean and Corn Producers Association of Mato Grosso do Sul (Aprosoja/MS), they estimate that 10% of the state's yield potential has been lost due to the dry weather during December. They now estimate that the state will produce 5.8 million tons of soybeans as compared to their initial estimate of 6.5 million tons. Many of the soybeans in the state are still filling pods, so some of the losses could be averted if the area received good rainfall in the near future. Unfortunately, the near term forecast is calling for more dryer than normal weather.

In western Parana, dry weather during December also took a toll on the soybean production. Recent rains in western Parana have helped to recharge the soil moisture, but more is needed for a full recharge. As a result, some farmers who had been expecting soybean yields in the range of 58 sacks per hectare (3,480 kg/ha or 50.5 bu/ac) are now estimating their yield at 50 sacks per hectare (3,000 kg/ha or 43.5 bu/ac). The hardest hit areas are approaching 30 days without rain and yield losses are calculated at 30%.

The third area of dryness was in northern Rio Grande do Sul, but recent rains have benefited the area and the soybeans were still in vegetative development when the dry weather occurred, so little damage is thought to have been done to the crop.