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March 30, 2017

Soy in Northern Tocantins, Brazil 50% Harvested, Yields are Good

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

Farmers in the municipality of Darcinopolis, Tocantins, which is in the northern part of the state, are anticipating a much better soybean crop compared to last year's drought impacted crop. The state of Tocantins is located in northeastern Brazil where a lot of new land is being brought into crop production. In fact, soybean production in Darcinopolis, Tocantins are some of the northernmost soybeans produced in Brazil.

The soybean harvest in the region is about 50% complete and yields are in the range of 58 to 60 sacks per hectare or 50 to 52 bu/ac. These yields are approximately 5 sacks per hectare (4.3 bu/ac) better than the recent yearly average, excluding last year when the crop was ravaged by hot and dry conditions.

Farmers who planted their 2016/17 soybeans earlier than recommended experienced some reduced germination due to dryness at the start of the growing season, but for those who planted later, the rains have been very good this growing season with good distribution.

Overall, there has not been much insect or disease pressure this season although there were 37 confirmed cases of soybean rust in the state. This is the fourth highest of any state in Brazil and quite high given the relatively small soybean acreage in the state (950,000 hectares) compared to the other big states such as Mato Grosso (9.2 million hectares) where there were 34 confirmed cases of rust.

While their production is good, the local prices are not. Soybean prices in the region are in the range of R$ 60 to R$ 62 per sack ($8.80 to $9.10 per bushel) and as a result, farmers are reluctant sellers because of the small potential margins. Most farmers in the region lost money last growing season due to the low yields, so they are hoping for a financial rebound this year.

Some of the farmers are following their soybeans with a second crop of corn, but safrinha corn acreage in the municipality is expected to be down 50% as farmers opt for more millet or cover crops.