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January 8, 2016

Slow Start to Soy Harvest in Mato Grosso, 1st Case of Rust Confirmed

In a more normal year, the state of Mato Grosso usually leads the way for soybean harvesting in Brazil, but this has not been a normal year. Hot and dry conditions in the state from September through December led to a slow planting pace and a lot of the early planted soybeans had to be replanted due to poor germination and inadequate plant populations. The combination of slow planting and the need to replant some of the soybeans is now leading to a slow start to harvesting.

Instead of ramping up the harvest in Mato Grosso by mid-January, this year the harvest will not start to accelerate until later in January or early February. It is estimated that less than 1% of the soybeans in the state have been harvested. According to the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea), 2% of the state's soybeans had been harvested by January 8th of last year.

The slower than normal harvest pace will also delay the planting of the safrinha corn which is planted after the first crop of soybeans are harvested.

The rainfall across the state started to improve in late December and the forecast continues to call for additional rainfall going forward. The later planted and later maturing soybeans will benefit the most from the improved moisture. Unfortunately, the early maturing soybeans were filling pods under adverse conditions and they will not benefit from the improved moisture.

The hot and dry conditions also delayed the entrance of soybean rust into commercial soybean fields in the state, but Embrapa has now reported the first case of soybean rust in commercial soybeans. The first case was reported in Primavera do Leste, which is located in southeastern Mato Grosso. Up until this point, there had been five cases of soybean rust confirmed in the state, but they were all on volunteer soybeans that had germinated during the dry season. So, the disease was present in the state, but the hot and dry conditions were unfavorable for the spread of the disease from the few volunteer soybeans to commercial fields.

This is quite late in the growing season for the first case of soybean rust to be reported in Mato Grosso. During the last growing season, the first case was reported on November 15, 2014. With the increased rainfall in the state, the number of rust cases is expected to increase and farmers in the region are being advised to start applying fungicides in an attempt to keep the disease under control.

Currently there are approximately 226 cases of soybean rust being reported in Brazil with 90% of the cases in Brazil's four southern states where there have been very heavy rains over the last several months.