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October 20, 2020

2020/21 Brazil Soybeans 6-8% Planted vs. 17.3% Average

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

The 2020/21 Brazilian soybeans are 6.1% planted compared to 19.5% last year and 17.3% average according to Safras & Mercado. AgRural has the planting a little more advanced at 7.9%. The soybeans are 8.1% planted in Mato Grosso and 16% planted in Parana. There are isolated reports of farmers having to replant some of their earlier planted soybeans due to poor plant populations. Planting of the 2020/21 Brazilian soybean crop is turning out to be the slowest in ten years.

In most areas farmers have started to plant their soybeans. Even in the dryer areas, there are reports of farmers planting in dry soil in anticipation of forecasted rain. In states like Parana, some farmers are a month late in planting their soybeans and they are willing to risk planting in dry conditions in the hope that they will still be able to plant their safrinha corn in the appropriate planting window next February.

Even though a delayed planting of soybeans in Brazil does not necessarily mean potential lower yields, I am increasingly concerned that the strengthening La Nina could result in dry periods during pod filling in December and January. Therefore, I feel there is more of a downside risk for the Brazilian soybean crop than upside potential, but we will know that for sure until the soybeans start to set pods.

One thing we do know is that the soybean harvest will start later than normal early next year. Normally, the Brazilian soybean harvest starts to ramp up in January, but for the 2020/21 crop, the harvest will not start ramping up until sometime in February.

Mato Grosso Soybeans - The Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea) indicated last Friday that 8.1% of the soybeans had been planted compared to 41.8% last year and 32.8% average. This represents an advance of 5% for the week and it is 33.6% behind last year. The most advanced planting is in the western part of the state where 24% of the soybeans have been planted compared to 55.6% last year.

Sapezal Municipality - In the municipality of Sapezal, which is located in western Mato Grosso, farmers had planted 40% to 45% of their 2020/21 soybeans by the end of last week. Rains fell across the region last weekend and farmers immediately rushed to the fields to start planting their soybeans. The farmers who planted their soybeans before they had adequate soil moisture may now have to replant some of their soybeans due to poor plant populations.

The soybeans in Sapezal are being planted about three weeks later than normal, which may have already compromised the planting window for safrinha cotton. The second crop of cotton needs to be planted before the end of January in order to optimum yields, but that may no longer be possible. The safrinha corn in Sapezal can be planted later into February, so it is possible that some of the intended cotton may be switched over to corn instead. Farmers may also have problems planting their safrinha corn within the appropriate window if they are not able to complete their soybean planting in about two weeks.

Farmers in the municipality forward contracted much of their soybeans for R$ 80 to R$ 90 per sack (approximately $6.75 to $7.60 per bushel), which was a good price at the time, but now soybean prices are much higher.

Canarana Municipality - In the municipality of Canarana, which is located in eastern Mato Grosso, farmers are looking toward the sky and hoping for rain. Only 4,000 hectares of the 280,000 hectares of soybeans in the municipality had been planted by the end of last week. If the forecasted rain fail to materialize, it could put at risk the safrinha corn planting and in fact, some of the earlier planted soybeans may have to be replanted. Farmers in the municipality have already forward contracted 60% to 70% of their anticipated soybean production for prices in the range of R$ 70 to R$ 100 per sack (approximately $5.90 to $8.40 per bushel).

Parana Soybeans - The Department of Rural Economics (Deral) reported that as of earlier last week 16% of the soybeans had been planted compared to about 36% last year and 39% average. The soybeans were rated 1% poor, 15% average, and 84% good.

Goias Soybeans - In the municipality of Mineiros, which is located in southwest Goias, rains two weekends ago allowed farmers to start planting their 2020/21 soybeans. Planting is starting right on time because the preferred planting window for soybeans is October 10th to October 30th. Planting now will allow enough time to plant their safrinha corn within the appropriate window.

Farmers in the municipality of Mineiros are expecting soybean yields in the range of 65 sacks per hectare (58.1 bu/ac), which would be as good as or better than the yields in 2019/20. A lot of the anticipated production was forward contracted for R$ 85.00 to R$ 92.00 per sack (approximately $7.15 to $7.75 per bushel). Farmers still have 30% to 40% of their soybeans left to sell and the prices now are much higher.

Rio Grande do Sul Soybeans - The soybeans in Rio Grande do Sul were 4% planted late last week compared to 3% last year and 4% average. Recent dry weather has slowed the planting progress and resulted in uneven early germination.

Maranhao Soybeans - Farmers in the state of Maranhao, which is located in northeastern Brazil, will start planting their soybeans after the rain forecasted this coming weekend and planting will intensify until about the middle of November. Aprosoja/MA expects the soybean yields to be better than last year which was 52 sacks per hectare (46.4 bu/ac). Any soybeans currently being planted are irrigated soybeans. Farmers in the state are expected to plant more than 1 million hectares of soybeans. Farmers in the state have already sold 72% of the soybeans for as much as R$ 100 per sack (approximately $8.40 per bushel) as they bartered for inputs.