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October 2, 2017

Agricultural Zoning Rules in Brazil Define Planting Periods

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

To the relief of Brazilian farmers, much anticipated rain fell across central and southern Brazil late last week and over the weekend allowing Brazilian farmers to start planting their 2017/18 soybean crop. Even if it had rained earlier in September, farmers in Brazil cannot plant any time they want because the planting season in Brazil is regulated by a series of state and federal rules.

For example, each state has established a soybean-free period during which no live soybean plants are permitted as a way to help control the spread of the soybean rust disease. Farmers are allowed to plant only after the period has expired, which was September 10th in Parana and September 15th in most other Brazilian states, including Mato Grosso.

In addition to the prohibited periods, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Service, Embrapa, has established what are called Agricultural Zoning rules in Brazil. These rules have been developed by Embrapa for each municipality in Brazil based on their geographic location, soil type, and the crop planted. The goal of the rules is to help insure a successful crop in eight out of ten years.

For example, safrinha corn is planted after the first crop of soybeans are harvested, but if the crop is planted too late in the growing season, the chances of a successful crop diminish rapidly. In the state of Parana, the Agricultural Zoning rules for western Parana stipulate that safrinha corn must be planted by the end of January, whereas in northern Parana, the rules stipulate that the corn must be planted by March 15th.

If Brazilian farmers want to participate in many government programs, they must adhere to the Agricultural Zoning rules. For example, if they ignore the rules, they will not be able to participate in government subsidized crop insurance programs. Additional, many financial institutions require adherence to the rules as a requirement to qualify for production credit loans.

The Brazilian program is similar to the Crop Insurance program in the United States in which the level of participation is based on when the crops may or may not be planted.