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July 11, 2019

Soybean-free period starts in Minas Gerais, Brazil

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

In the state of Minas Gerais, which is located in southeastern Brazil, the annual soybean-free period started on July 1st and it will end on September 15th. During that 77 day period, the Minister of Agriculture in the state will send out teams of technicians to monitor approximately 800 soybean producers in the state to insure that there are no live soybean plants in the field, along the side of the fields, or around storage or transportation facilities. Their efforts will be concentrated in the areas of the state responsible for the majority of the soybean production.

Prior to this year, the soybean-free period was 90 days long, but farmers in the state were successful in their petition to extend the soybean planting season and thus reducing the soybean-free period. Minas Gerais is the sixth largest soybean producing state in Brazil and farmers in the state are expected to plant 1.6 million hectares of soybeans in 2019/20 resulting in 5 million tons of production.

The soybean-free period has instituted in most of the main soybean producing states in Brazil shortly after Asian soybean rust was discovered in Brazil during the 2000/01 growing season. The goal is to prevent or control the spread of soybean rust from one growing season to the next. Soybean rust, which is caused by the fungus Phakopsora pachyrhizi, can result in yield losses of up to 80% if not adequately controlled.

If live soybean plants are found on a property, the landowner will be notified and given 10 days to have the plants eliminated. If upon a return visit, the plants have not been eliminated, the landowner could face a fine of up to R$ 5,389 per hectare (approximately $1,418).