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May 3, 2018

Dry Weather Negatively Impacting Safrinha Soybeans in Paraguay

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

The recent weather in Paraguay has been dry and farmers are worried that it has negatively impacted their safrinha soybean production. In many areas of Paraguay, the last rain fell during the first week of April and there is very little rainfall in the forecast. The safrinha soybeans were planted in December and January and they will be harvested in May and June. Unfortunately, the dry weather occurred during the critical pod filling period.

The early safrinha soybean harvest is underway in parts of Paraguay with disappointing yields in the range of 1,200 kg/ha (17.7 bu/ac). Many farmers are concerned that their safrinha soybean yields could be down 30% to 40% or maybe more. The dry weather has also impacted the safrinha corn yields, which could be down 30%. It may also impact the planting of the winter wheat. Which generally starts in May.

It is too early to say for sure how big the impact will be on the safrinha soybean yields. Many seed producers increase their seed supplies by planting safrinha soybean production and they are concerned about the quality of the seed they are harvesting. If the seed quality is poor, there is the potential for substandard germination. During times of drought, the soybean seed may be mechanically damaged during harvesting, which then allows fungi to enter the seed resulting in lower than acceptable germination.

It is estimated that farmers in Paraguay planted approximately 500,000 hectares of safrinha soybeans as compared to 3.5 million hectares of full-season soybeans. If the yields end up being as low as some analysts are expecting, it could reduce the Paraguayan soybean production by 300 to 400,000 tons from what was originally expected.

Farmers in Paraguay are allowed to plant two crops of soybeans in the same field during the same growing season. That is not the case in neighboring Brazil where safrinha soybean production is prohibited. Farmers in the Brazilian states of Parana and Mato Grosso do Sul, both of which border on Paraguay, are not allowed to plant soybeans after December 31st and they are expressly prohibited from planting safrinha soybeans. The prohibition is in place in an effort to limit the spread of soybean rust from one growing season to the next.