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November 15, 2016

South American Planting Progress

Brazil Soybeans - According to AgRural, the Brazilian soybean crop is 63% planted compared to 60% last year and 65% average. Soybean planting in Mato Grosso is 90% and 82% of the soybeans in Parana have been planted. The slowest planting is in northeastern Brazil, but good rains have moved into northeastern Brazil which should now allow for rapid soybean planting.

The weather last week was mixed again in Brazil. It was good in central and eastern Brazil, but dryer than average in southern Brazil. The forecast for this week looks like favorable conditions will continue in central and eastern Brazil with a dryer pattern developing for southern Brazil. The Brazilian soybean crop continues to get off to a better than average start with the earlier planted soybeans already starting to bloom. Thus far, it has been a very good start in Mato Grosso and central Brazil. In southern Brazil there is the concern that the weather pattern may be turning dryer.

Brazil Corn - The full-season corn in Brazil is maybe 75% planted although there are no nationwide estimates for full-season corn planting. The planting is complete in Rio Grande do Sul and in Parana, but maybe half of the corn is planted in the state of Minas Gerais which has the most full-season corn acreage.

The most advanced full-season corn in Parana is already filling grain and is about at the "roasting ear" stage. The least advanced full-season corn is still being planted in the state of Minas Gerais. It is difficult to characterize the overall stage of development of the full-season corn, but I would estimate that maybe 20% is planting/germinating, 60% in vegetative development, and 20% in pollinating/grain filling. The condition of the corn in Parana and Rio Grande do Sul is rated over 90% good to excellent.

While the full-season crop is currently in good condition, a dryer pattern appears to be setting up in southern Brazil over the next several weeks. If that does occur, it could negatively impact the pollination and grain filling of the later planted full-season corn. In the meantime, Conab increased their corn estimate slightly in their November Crop Report due to an increase of 117,000 hectares of full-season corn compared to the October Report.

Much more important for the Brazilian corn estimate will be the fate of the safrinha corn crop. Conab has simply carried forward the safrinha corn acreage from last year at 10.53 million hectares (23.6 million acres) and they estimated the safrinha corn yield at 5,323 kg/ha (81.9 bu/ac) which is 37.7% more than last year.

I think the safrinha corn acreage will increase due to potential early planting of the safrinha corn and potentially improving prices due the devaluation of the Brazilian currency. I am estimating that the safrinha corn acreage will increase 5% in 2016/17.

Argentina Soybeans - According to the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange, the soybean crop in Argentina is 10.9% planted compared to 20% last year and 18% average. Planting has been slow due to the cold and wet weather in Argentina since early October. The planting pace did pick up last week due to improved conditions. Planting was most advanced in the core regions and least advanced in the saturated areas of western Buenos Aires, northern La Pampa, and southern Cordoba.

One of the better areas for planting has been north-central Santa Fe where six days of dry weather last week allowed farmers to plant 18% of the soybeans in the region, but even with the advance in planting, the soybean planting is still behind last year when 35% had been planted by this date. Unfortunately, central Santa Fe and Entre Rios received heavy rains and hail late last week that impacted crops in the region. This is the same areas that suffered severe flooding last April.

Argentina Corn - The farmers in Argentina only managed to plant 1% of their intended corn acreage last week and the planting now stands at 40% planted compared to 38% last year and 45% average. The most advanced corn planting is in the core areas where 85% of the corn has been planted. In the more southern areas, the corn is 40-60% planted, while in the more northern areas, it is 0-20% planted.

In the more saturated areas, some of the early planted corn was drown out. Additionally, some farmers never got their intended corn planted before the flooding. In both of these cases, the corn may be planted during the second phase of planting starting early in December.

The most advanced corn in Argentina is pre-pollination and 90% of the corn that has emerged is rated in good to excellent condition. By the end of November, the corn in Argentina will probably be about 45% planted, which would be approximately 5% below last year. If the weather in the southwestern production areas stays wetter than normal, it is possible that the Argentine corn acreage could end up below what was anticipated. It is too early to say for sure that will happen, but it is a possibility.