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March 6, 2013

Dry Weather in Western Bahia Impacting Soybean Production

In the major soybean producing region of western Bahia farmers are becoming very concerned about the lack of rainfall. Many areas of western Bahia have gone four weeks without a rain and the forecast is calling for continued dryness for at least the next ten days. Approximately 20% of the soybeans in Bahia are early maturing (90 day maturity) and they are being impacted the most by the dry conditions because the crop is in the midst of filling pods. In some of the worst areas, it has been 60 days since the last rain and losses in these fields will be extremely high.

The medium maturing soybeans, which represent 80% of the total production in the state, could still be salvaged if additional rainfall was received soon, but the forecast does not look promising.

Bahia in general has a semi-arid climate and the summer rainy season in Bahia starts later and ends earlier than in central Brazil. If this is already the end of the rainy season in western Bahia, the overall soybean yields in the state could be severely impacted. The state of Bahia accounts for approximately 4.5% of Brazil's soybean production. The last severe drought in the region of Luis Eduardo Magalhaes, which is the soybean capital of Bahia, was in 1990 when the major producing regions went 42 days with a rain during the growing season.