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November 25, 2015

Delayed Rains Offers Opportunity to Plant Soy in Central Brazil

After a prolonged period of dry weather in the state of Minas Gerais, which is located in southeastern Brazil, the weather has improved over the past week and farmers in the state are working as quickly as possible to plant their 2015/16 soybean crop. They need to get their soybeans planted by mid-December in order to allow enough time for a second crop of corn or grain sorghum.

Farmers in the state are on track to increase their soybean acreage by 7-10% as they opt for less full-season corn and more first crop soybeans instead. As a result, the full-season corn acreage in the state is expected to decline 11-18%. An additional source of increased soybean acreage is the conversion of degraded pastures to soybean production. Soybeans are more profitable and more liquid than corn, which is why farmers have increasing their soybean acreage in recent years at the expense of full-season corn.

The northwestern part of the state is a major soybean producing region and it is that area where they finally got some much needed rainfall starting about a week ago. Farmers are now planting their early maturing soybeans first in order to allow enough time for the second crop of corn or grain sorghum. After they plant their early maturing soybeans, they will plant the medium and later maturing soybean varieties. The soybeans that are now being planted could still achieve normal yields if the weather cooperates during the remainder of the growing season.

Farmers in the neighboring state of Goias have also been slow in getting their soybeans planted also due to dryer than normal weather. The adverse conditions have also resulted in the need to replant some of the soybeans.

The most delayed part of the state has been in southwestern Goias near the city of Rio Verde. Farmers in the region started planting their soybeans soon after the soybean-free period ended on September, but subsequent hot and dry conditions resulted in reduced germination and less than acceptable plant populations. It is some of these early planted soybeans that are now being replanted. Individual farmers are probably only replanting small areas, but the number of farmers reporting replanting is much greater than average.

Aprosoja/GO reported that as of late last week approximately 60% of the soybeans in Goias had been planted compared to the average of 80%. The most delayed area of the state is the southwestern region of the state where normally all the soybeans are planted by about November 5th and in this region, the soybean planting is generally complete by about November 5th. Agronomists in the region think the crop will be all planted by the end of this week, or about three weeks later than normal.

Farmers in southwestern Goias are also concerned about potential delays in getting the safrinha corn planted early next year. The safrinha corn in the region will be planted approximately 15 days after the ideal planting window will have closed at the end of February. If the rainy season is extended, then there will probably be little problem planting the corn late. If the rainy season ends normally at the end of April, then the late planted safrinha corn will probably end up disappointing due to dry weather during the grain filling period.