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March 20, 2019

Wet Weather Slows Brazil's Soybean Harvest, Helps Safrinha Corn

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

Brazil Soybeans - The weather in Brazil last week remained generally on the wet side across most of Brazil. The wet conditions continue to slow the soybean harvest which is causing some concerns about soybean quality. The forecast continues to look wet across central Brazil, but dryer across southern Brazil. Some meteorologists in Brazil are predicting a dryer-than-normal month of April.

The Brazilian soybean crop is 63% harvested compared to 58% last year and 56% for the five year average. This represents an advance of only 6% for the week. The soybean harvest in Brazil has been slowed down in recent weeks by persistent wet weather.

Mato Grosso - According to the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural; Economics (Imea), the soybean harvest in Mato Grosso is 97% complete compared to about 91% for last year and the 5-year average.

Parana - AgRural reported that 66% of the soybeans in the state have been harvested and that the harvest pace is now slower than last year for the first time this harvest season. The Department of Rural Economics (Deral) rated the remaining soybeans as 2% poor, 18% average, and 80% good.

The Brazilian soybean harvest has definitely slowed down in recent weeks. The two big areas that remain to be harvested are the state of Rio Grande do Sul in far southern Brazil and the states in northeastern Brazil. Rio Grande do Sul has the potential to move ahead of Parana as the second leading soybean producing state in Brazil this year due to the dry weather in Parana that impacted the early maturing soybeans. The soybean harvest in northeastern Brazil is underway and that region generally produces 11-12% of Brazil's total soybean production.

In their March Crop Report, Conab lowered their estimate of the 2018/19 Brazilian soybean crop by 1.9 million tons to 113.4 million. The decline in the crop estimate was due to a lower yield forecast of 3,168 kg/ha (46.8 bu/ac).

Brazil Corn - The weather last week in Brazil continued to be beneficial for the safrinha corn crop. Rains continued across central Brazil and they even received some rain in the previously dry areas of southern Mato Grosso do Sul and western Parana. Mato Grosso is the largest safrinha corn producing state followed by Parana.

The safrinha corn planting in Mato Grosso is now essentially complete. The safrinha corn in Parana is 91% planted and the corn in Parana is rated 7% average and 93% good.

The safrinha corn crop is off to a good start and farmers are optimistic about their crop prospects. I increased my Brazilian corn estimate last week and I thought I might increase it again this week, but I decided to hold off due to the long range forecast for April. Meteorologists in Brazil are forecasting a dryer-than-normal month of April in central Brazil. If that verifies, it could be a problem for the later planted safrinha corn. Therefore, I decided to leave my Brazilian corn estimate unchanged this week at 93.5 million tons with a neutral to higher bias.

As soon as I saw the forecast for a dryer-than-normal April, my first thought was if that would be a precursor to an early end to the summer rainy season. No one knows when the summer rains will end, so this needs to be watched closely.

In their March Crop Report, Conab increased their estimate of the 2018/19 Brazilian corn crop by 1.1 million tons to 92.8 million. The increase came as a result of an increase of 240,000 hectares of safrinha corn compared to last month. The early planting and beneficial weather apparently encouraged Brazilian farmers to increase their safrinha corn acreage.