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October 28, 2019

Farmers in Bahia, Brazil starting to Plant their 2019/20 Soybeans

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

With a forecast for regular rains starting in November, farmers in western Bahia are hoping for an excellent soybean crop in 2019/20. The summer rains start later in eastern Brazil and farmers in Bahia are allowed to start planting their soybeans on October 8 and they must finish planting by December 31st. Farmers who have irrigation capabilities have already started to plant their soybeans, but farmers without irrigation will wait until the rains are more normalized before they start plating.

The soybean acreage in the state is expected to increase slightly more than 1.0%, but the soybean production is expected to increase more due to improved yields compared to last year's disappointing crop, which was the result of dry weather early in the growing season.

Soybeans are the key crop in western Bahia, but the farmers in the region also produce cotton, corn, and dry beans. In fact, Bahia is the second largest cotton producing state in Brazil after Matos Grosso. After farmers plant their soybeans, they will start planting their cotton.

Virtually all the soybeans and cotton produced in Bahia are exported to mainly Asia. The corn and dry bean production is consumed domestically in northeastern Brazil. This region of Brazil has a chronic deficit of corn and the federal government frequently subsidizes the transportation of corn from Mato Grosso to northeastern Brazil. The government then sells the corn to small family farmers at subsidized rates.

The entire region of northeastern Brazil has been the focus of recent agricultural expansion in Brazil. The land is cheaper than in other parts of Brazil and the region is relative close to export facilities. The biggest obstacle in the region is weather uncertainty. The summer rains start later in northeastern Brazil and they end earlier leaving the region susceptible to periodic droughts. In recent years though, the rainfall has been enough to result in record yields.

Agriculture is the driving force in the economy of western Bahia and it is responsible for 95,000 jobs both direct and indirect and more than 23% of the state's economy.