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November 5, 2015

Farmers in Rio Grande do Sul struggle with Excessive Rainfall

Farmers in Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil continue to struggle with an overabundance of rainfall due to El Nino. The excessive rainfall has already resulted in a very disappointing winter wheat crop and now the rainfall is delaying the rice planting and the soybean planting in the state.

According to the Rice Institute of Rio Grande do Sul (IRGA), farmers in the state have only planted 38% of their intended rice acreage which is 12% behind last year's pace, which was slow as well. Farmers are concerned about getting their rice planted before the ideal planting window closes in less than two weeks. Unfortunately, the forecast continues to call for more heavy rainfall across the state.

In addition to delaying the rice planting, many farmers will need to replant some of their earlier planted rice due to the heavy rains.

The main crop in the state is soybeans and farmers have been slowly planting their 2015/16 soybeans due to the wet conditions. The 2015/16 soybean crop in the state is approximately 3-5% planted. November is the main soybean planting month in Rio Grande do Sul, so there is still time to plant the crop before it is considered too late. Farmer's main concern right now is that the nearly constant wet weather will result in a proliferation of soybean rust. If that were to occur, farmers would need to increase their fungicide applications later in the growing season, which would result in a higher cost of production.