June 16, 2016
Soybean-Free Period in Effect in Mato Grosso
As of yesterday, June 15th, the latest soybean-free period took effect in the state of Mato Grosso and it will be in effect until September 15th. During this 90-day period, landowners must eliminate all live soybean plants from their property, along highways, and around storage and transportation facilities in an effort to eliminate the survival of soybean rust spores from one growing season to the next.
The Mato Grosso Agriculture and Livestock Protection Bureau (Indea-MT) is responsible for conducting surveys around the state searching for live soybean plants. In 2015, technicians from Indea visited 5,306 properties in the state and issued 440 notices that live soybean plants had been found. Once notified, the landowners have 10 days to destroy the plants or face fines. The number of properties visited has increased in recent years. In 2010 for example, Indea visited 2,216 properties and issued 6 notices of live soybean plants.
Currently, the workers at Indea in the state of Mato Grosso are on strike over salary disputes and it is unclear when the canvasing of the state will start. Technicians from Indea cannot survey every hectare of land in a state as big as Mato Grosso, so they have set up a hotline and a web site for farmers or citizens to contact if they see any live soybean plants.
Starting with the 2016/17 growing season, the soybean-free period will be extended. Instead of starting on June 15th, it will start in early May. Additionally, farmers in the state will only be allowed to plant soybeans between September 16th and December 31st and the planting of a second crop of soybeans known as the safrinha will be prohibited.
These new restrictions were supposed to have started with the 2015/16 growing season, but a delayed start to the rainy season and a severe drought during last November and December altered farmer's planting plans. The state government allowed planting after December 31st because farmers had to replant their soybeans decimated by the dry weather. Some regions of the state went up to 40 days without rain last November and December resulting in a total loss of the soybean crop.