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November 26, 2015

Farmers in Central Brazil Still Struggling with Dryer Conditions

The irregular rainfall across central Brazil has caused mounting frustrations for farmers still trying to plant their 2015/16 soybean crop. Normally by the end of November, the soybean planting should be nearing completion, but that is not the case this year in parts of Mato Grosso, Goias, and Minas Gerais.

In the state of Mato Grosso, the driest region is in the northeastern part of the state where the soybeans are 66% planted according to the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea). This region generally plants soybeans later than in other parts of the state, but not this late. Even in central Mato Grosso the planting has been delayed as much as thirty days compared to normal and farmers are concerned that the soybean yield potential may have already been compromised.

Additionally, farmers in the state are reporting that they have had to replant some of their soybeans due to poor germination and inadequate plant populations. Most of the replanting is occurring in the earliest planted fields which endured long periods of dry weather after planting. The farmers are also concerned that the delay in planting the soybeans will also delay the second crop of corn that will be planted after the soybeans are harvested.

In central Brazil, the planting window for safrinha corn generally closes about the third week of February. Planting corn after that date becomes more risky due to the possibility of dry weather during the grain filling process. Farmers in central Mato Grosso already know that they will not be able to plant their safrinha corn until after the ideal planting window has closed and as a result, they may not plant all their intended safrinha corn.

A similar story is being told by farmers in the states of Goias and Minas Gerais. Soybean planting in these two states has also been delayed by dry weather. In fact, there are reports of farmers in these two states planting their soybeans in dry soil in anticipation of rainfall.

One positive aspect of this dryer than normal weather has been a delay of soybean rust entering into commercial soybean fields in central Brazil. Last year by the end of November, there were 8 confirmed cases of soybean rust in commercial soybean fields in the state of Mato Grosso. Currently, there are no cases of rust in commercial soybean fields in the state. All the cases of rust reported thus far have been in volunteer soybeans growing alongside of the fields or along roadways in the state. The situation is similar in the states of Goias and Minas Gerais where there have not been any confirmed cases of soybean rust thus far in commercial soybean fields.