October 29, 2014

Brazil's Soybeans being Planting at Half the Normal Pace

The Brazilian weather has improved over the past week with more numerous showers falling across central Brazil. The heaviest amounts of rainfall were recorded in the state of Mato Grosso and amounts decreased as you move east into states such as Goias, Minas Gerais, and Bahia. There are more rains in the forecast, so it looks like the planting conditions in most of Brazil will continue to improve.

The Brazilian soybean crop is approximately 15-17% planted which is slightly less than half the normal pace of approximately 35%. The most advanced planting pace is in the state of Parana where 30% of the soybeans have been planted followed by Mato Grosso do Sul at about 24%, Mato Grosso 16%, and Goias 8%. Of the major soybeans producing states, Mato Grosso is probably the furthest behind at 16% planted especially in central Mato Grosso where the soybean planting typically surpasses 50% by this date. The third major soybean producing state in Brazil is Rio Grande do Sul and soybean planting in that state is just getting underway.

It is going to take several weeks to get all the soybeans planted in Brazil so we can now say that about 40-45% of Brazil's soybeans will be planted outside of the ideal planting window, which in central Brazil is generally considered between October 1st and October 20th. In southern Brazil, the planting window extends longer into November and most of the soybeans in southern Brazil can still be probably planted in a normal time frame.

Just because soybeans are planted later than normal in Brazil, that does not preclude a good soybean yield if the weather cooperates for the remainder of the growing season. What it does mean though is that the risk factors are increasing including: more concentrated developmental windows for the crop, being exposed to disease and insect pressures for a longer period of time, more vulnerability to dry weather later in the growing season, and a more concentrated harvest period during the peak of the rainy season.

Brazilian farmers generally try to spread out their risks by planting over an extended period of time and by planting soybeans of different maturity lengths. That is not going to be the case this year. Farmers in Brazil are trying to make up for lost time by planting as quickly as possible which means there will be a higher percentage of the crop maturing at the same time. Trying to harvest soybeans in Brazil during the rainy season is always a challenge and it might be even more of a challenge early next year when a large portion of the crop will be ready to harvest at the same time.