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November 5, 2013

Brazil Farmers Worried about Corn Earworm and Soybean Rust

In addition to prices and costs, the two things that worry Brazilian farmers the most this growing season are corn earworm and soybean rust. Thus far, there have not been any cases of soybean rust reported in Brazil, but it's still very early in the growing season. The first cases of rust are generally confirmed sometime during the month of November. The amount of soybean rust this year may be an important factor in how much safrinha soybeans are planted early next year. If it is a bad year for rust, that may dissuade some farmers from planting two crops of soybeans back-to-back.

As far as the corn earworm is concerned, farmers in Mato Grosso have already started spraying for the pest in an effort to stay ahead of the problem. As far as I know, there has not been an "official registry" set up as yet to track the new pest. It's too early to say if this is going to be a major yield problem or just a major cost problem. Certainly Brazilian farmers are going to spend a lot more money on insecticides this year compared to last year. They hope it doesn't turn out to be a year when they have to spray "nonstop" in order to stay ahead of the problem. Controlling this new pest is going to be a "work in progress" for the entire growing season.

The extent of the problem with this pest could also impact the amount of safrinha soybeans farmers decide to plant or not plant early next year. If control measures are successful during the first crop of soybeans, then they may decide to take a chance on a second crop of soybeans.