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July 25, 2014

Rain in Mato Grosso Complicates Soybean Eradication Efforts

Residents of Mato Grosso were surprised earlier this week when severe storms rolled through the state on the back of a strong cold front. The month of July is usually extremely dry since it is in the midst of the dry season in central Brazil. While rain may help to dampen the dust and reduce the chances of wild fires, it is not good news for efforts to eradicate volunteer soybean plants.

The 90-day soybean free period is now in effect in Mato Grosso and land owners are required by law to eliminate any live soybean plants on their property, along the roadways bordering their property, or near storage and transportation facilities. If live soybean plants are found, the property owner is notified and given 10 days to eliminate the plants or face a fine. The prohibition was put in place in the mid-2000's as a way to slow the spread of soybean rust from one growing season to the next.

The problem with the unusual rainfall earlier this week is that the moisture can now spur soybean seeds that were in dry conditions to suddenly germinate and start growing. As a result, state officials have sent notices to municipalities around the state to be on the lookout for newly germinated soybeans.

The Mato Grosso Soybean and Corn Producers Association (Aprosoja-MT) has notified urban officials in the main soybean growing municipalities that they too must do everything possible to eliminate live soybean plants along roadways or streets especially those in the vicinity of grain storage facilities.

Aprosoja-MT has also asked the state highway department to attempt to eliminate volunteer soybeans along roadways where there are no soybean producers. They have asked state officials in prior years to take similar action, but to little avail. Soybeans can drop from trucks and germinate along the side of the roadway. Eliminating all these soybeans is an impossible task especially given the fact that the state of Mato Grosso is as big as the entire U.S. Midwest and soybeans are grown in 90% of the municipalities in the state.