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January 9, 2015

Early 2014/15 Soybean Yields in Brazil are Variable

The early 2014/15 soybean harvest in Brazil is under way in the states of Mato Grosso and Parana. The first fields in Mato Grosso were harvested before Christmas and while the harvest pace is still very timid, it is starting to pick up. In Mato Grosso, the recent weather has been sunny in the mornings with widely scattered afternoon and evening showers allowing for farmers to harvest more of their early maturing soybeans.

The Somar Meteorological agency is forecasting only 40 mm of rainfall (1.6 inches) for central Mato Grosso between now and January 21st (two weeks). If this forecast is verified, that would represent only 10% of the normal January rainfall for central Mato Grosso. The dryer than normal weather would benefit the harvesting of the early maturing soybeans, but it would not be good news for the majority of soybeans in the state that are current in the process of filling pods.

The Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea) is estimating that less than 6% of the soybeans in Mato Grosso will be harvested by the end of January and they estimate that 66% of the soybeans in the state will be harvested during the second half of February and the first half of March.

Early soybean yields in Mato Grosso have been quite variable in the range of 35 to 64 sacks per hectare (2,100 to 3,840 kg/ha or 30 to 56 bu/ac). The higher yields are generally being reported from farmers who had their soybeans under center pivot irrigation. Many of these early maturing soybeans will be followed by a second crop of cotton. The ideal planting widow for safrinha cotton in Mato Grosso generally closes by the end of January.

The early soybean harvest has also begun in the state of Parana as well. It is estimated that approximately 3% of the soybeans in the state will be harvested by the end of January compared to the average of 5%. Farmers are reporting yields in the range of 33 to 66 sacks per hectare (1,980 to 3,960 kg/ha or 29 to 57 bu/ac).

These early maturing soybeans were generally planted during the second half of September and the lower yields are being attributed to the dry weather that occurred during the month of October. Soybeans that were planted after the rainfall normalized in November have general been developing normally and these later planted soybeans have good yield prospects.