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May 29, 2015

Soybean-Free Period to Start in Mato Grosso on June 1st

Starting on Monday, June 1st, the soybean-free period will start once again in the state Mato Grosso and it will remain in effect until September 15th. During this period, land owners must destroy any live soybean plants in their fields, along the highways bordering their properties, or around storage or transportation facilities.

The soybean-free period in Mato Grosso was started in 2006 as a way to help control the spread of soybean rust spores from one growing season to the next. Without a host plant, the spores cannot survive for more than 50-60 days. By eliminating as many soybean plants as possible, it removes a primary source of host plants. Not every soybean plant is going to be eliminated especially along highways where soybeans germinate after spilling out of passing trucks, but the soybean-free period is being credited with improving the control of soybean rust in recent years.

The Plant and Livestock Protection Bureau for the state of Mato Grosso (Indea) expanded the soybean-free period earlier this year to start on May 1st and extend to September 15th. Farmers in the state complained that the new dates were instituted in the middle of the growing season and that it would be impossible for some farmers to eliminate all live soybean plants by May 1st since some farmers had already planted a second crop of soybeans. As a result, Indea modified the start date this year to June 1st. The May 1st start date will be in effect in 2016.

Starting on June 1st, technicians from Indea will inspect 4,000 properties across the state looking for volunteer soybean plants. If live soybean plants are found, the landowner will be notified and given ten days to destroy the plants. If the plants are not destroyed within ten days, the landowner would face fines. In 2014, the technicians inspected approximately 3,500 properties.

The new rules also expressly prohibit the planting of a second crop of soybeans after the initial crop is harvested in January or February. During the 2015 growing season, there were an estimated 120,000 hectares of safrinha soybeans planted in the state. A significant portion of those soybeans were for the purpose of increasing the seed supply.