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October 27, 2014

Extension of Soybean-Free Period in Mato Grosso Meets Resistance

Scientists in Mato Grosso as well as in other parts of Brazil, have long opposed the practice of planting two soybean crops back-to-back during the same growing season or what is called safrinha soybeans. They contend that the practice propagates soybean rust and diminishes the effectiveness of the fungicides used to combat the disease. They argue that the limited benefit of producing a second crop of soybeans is more than offset by the increased costs to control the disease in the subsequent growing season.

Therefore, the Plant Protection Bureau for the state of Mato Grosso (CDSV) is proposing that the soybean free period in the state be extended from its current 90 days to 138 days. The current soybean free period, which went into effect in the mid-2000s, starts on June 15th and ends on September 15th. During that period no live soybean plants are permitted in the fields, along the sides of the roadways, or around storage and transportation facilities. The new proposal would extend the start date to May 1st and keep the end date unchanged at September 15th. If enacted, it would essentially eliminate the possibility of a second crop of soybeans being planted in the state.

The president of the Mato Grosso Soybean and Corn Producers Association (Aprosoja-MT) Ricardo Tomczyk, has indicated that his organization would prefer to leave the start date unchanged, but extend the end of the period to September 30th. They maintain that the longer period would help to control the spread of rust from one season to the next, but it would not preclude the planting of a second crop of soybeans.

While safrinha soybean production represents less than 2% of the soybeans produced in the state, it is important to seed producers as a way to increase their seed supplies. Aprosoja maintains that if rust is the main reason why CDSV wants to prohibit safrinha soybean production, than a program of more stringent rust control should be implemented instead of prohibiting safrinha soybean production.

Aprosoja-MT maintains that they were not adequately consulted as CDSV was revising the rules concerning the soybean free period and that producers should be given the option of producing a second crop of soybeans if they wish.