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March 5, 2014

Harvesting and Planting Progress in Central Brazil

The state of Goias in central Brazil has been one of the hardest hit states this growing season. Hot and dry conditions earlier in the growing season lowered soybean yields and now wet weather during the harvest is causing even more problems. The soybean crop in the state is approximately 60% harvested, but the harvest progress has slowed in recent days due to persistent wet weather. The soybean acreage in the state increased by 10% this growing season to three million hectares.

In the southwest region of the state near the city of Rio Verde soybean losses are estimated in the range of 10 sacks per hectare (8.7 bu/ac). The Agriculture Federation of Goias (Faeg) estimates that 1.8 million tons of soybeans were lost statewide due to the dry weather. Historical yields in the region average 50 to 55 sacks per hectare (3,000 to 3,300 kg/ha or 43.5 to 47.8 bu/ac), but this year the yields may be more in the range of 45 sacks per hectare (2,700 kg/ha or 39 bu/ac).

In neighboring Mato Grosso the soybean harvest is also approaching 60% complete, which is slightly behind last year's pace. Wet weather has slowed the harvest in recent weeks and resulted in slightly lower yields. The Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea) now estimates the statewide soybean yield at 53 sacks per hectare (3,180 kg/ha or 46 bu/ac), which is slightly below their previous estimate of 54 sacks per hectare (3,240 kg/ha or 47 bu/ac). Some of the hardest hit fields will not be harvested due to the soybean sprouting in the pods.

As of the end of February, 75% of the safrinhacorn crop in Mato Grosso had been planted, which is 13% behind last year's planting progress. The ideal planting window for safrinhacorn in the state generally closes by the end of February, so approximately 820,000 hectares of corn will be planted later than desired. If the rainy season is extended, then planting the corn later than normal should not result in lower yields. In contrast, if the rainy season ends earlier than normal, then the late planted corn could run out of moisture before the kernel filling process is complete.