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June 30, 2011

90-Day Soybean Free Period in Affect in Central Brazil

The 90-day soybean free period in Brazil took effect on June 15th and it will continue in effect through September 15th. During this period no live soybean plants are permitted in farmers fields, along roadways, or near storage or processing facilities. The reason for the prohibition is to reduce the risk of soybean rust spores surviving the dry season and infecting the new soybean crop which will start to be planted on September 16th.

As part of this process, teams of agronomists will visit hundreds of rural properties searching for soybean plants that may have germinated after the fields were harvested several months ago. In the municipality of Sorriso, which is the largest soybean producing municipality in Brazil, 20% of the soybean producing farms will be inspected or a total of 77 properties. If any live soybeans are found on the property, the landowner will be notified and given ten days to destroy the plants. Offending properties will be revisited each month during the prohibition period. Each land owner is also responsible for eliminating soybeans that may have germinated along roadways that border the property.

The prohibition of live soybean plants pertains to farmer-owned land and to land that is rented as well including irrigated or non-irrigated. In fact, when this system was put in place five years ago, each center pivot irrigation system in the state of Mato Grosso was registered with the state and fitted with a GPS tracking device that could monitor if the system was in use during the dry season. If it was found to be in use, the crop being irrigated was inspected by the state agronomists to insure that soybeans were not being grown.

The only exemption to the ban is soybeans being grown in research plots, but each plot must be licensed ahead of time and inspected rigorously by state officials. These plots must be sprayed regularly to prevent rust from becoming established.