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March 28, 2019

Soy Yields in NE Brazil Variable, just Like the Rest of the Country

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

Farmers in northeastern Brazil are harvesting their 2018/19 soybeans and planting their safrinha corn crop. The soybean harvest in the municipality of Balsas, which is in the state of Maranhao, is approaching 70% complete and farmers are reporting highly variable soybean yields in the range of 20 to 70 sacks per hectare (17.7 to 62 bu/ac).

In a good year, soybean yields in the region are generally in the range of 60 sacks per hectare (53 bu/ac). The average yield this year in the region is expected to be in the range of 40 to 50 sacks per hectare (35.5 to 44.4 bu/ac).

The story this year in parts on northeastern Brazil is the same as in many other areas of the country. An extended period of dry weather during December and early January negatively impacted the early maturing soybeans that were filling pods at that time. The weather turned wetter about mid-January which helped the later planted or later maturing soybeans, which are expected to have more normal yields.

Farmers in the region have been slow sellers of their soybeans as they wait for improved prices. The current soybean prices in the region are in the range of R$ 68 to R$ 70 per sack (approximately $8.15 to $8.40 per bushel). If the soybean yield is below about 40 sacks per hectare (35.5 bu/ac), they probably will not be able to cover their cost of production this year.

On the brighter side, farmers are optimistic about their safrinha corn production. The safrinha corn in the region was planted by March 10th and the weather has been favorable since planting, so if the weather continues to be favorable in April and May, farmers are optimistic about their corn production. Northeastern Brazil is a chronically deficient corn region, and as a result, domestic corn prices in the region are well supported. Corn prices in the municipality are currently in the range of R$ 38 to R$ 40 per sack (approximately $4.50 to 4.80 per bushel).