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October 29, 2015

Rice Planting Delayed in Rio Grande do Sul due to Wetness

Rice producers in Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil are have a difficult time planting their 2015/16 rice crop due to consistent heavy rains over the last several weeks.

According to the latest assessment of the Rio Grande do Sul Rice Institute, 26% of the rice in the state has been planted compared to a five-year average of 46%. Of the 285,000 hectares already planted, it is estimated that 6.4% (18,300 hectares) will need to be replanted due to heavy rains and that figure may go higher.

During the 2015/16 growing season, farmers in the state intended to plant 1.08 million hectares of rice, but the eventual acreage may end up lower than initial intensions due to the slow statewide planting pace.

The ideal planting window for rice in the state will remain open until November 10th. The planting delays will probably result in reduced acreage and higher costs for producers because areas already prepared for planting will have to be redone once it dries out. Cultural practices such as weed and insect control will be made more difficult due to the wetness. Unfortunately, the long range forecast for the state is for more heavy rains over the next several months due to El Nino.

In Brazil irrigated rice will account for 69% of the country's total rice production. Rio Grande do Sul is by far the largest producing state followed by Santa Catarina and Tocantins. In Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina all the rice is irrigated, but in the state of Tocantins in northern Brazil, two-thirds of the rice is irrigated and one-third is rain-fed.