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October 31, 2014

Northeastern Brazil Receives First Rainfall of the Season

Soybean planting in northeastern Brazil generally starts later than in other regions of Brazil due to the late arrival of the summer rainy season. This expanding agricultural frontier includes the states of: western Bahia as well as parts of southern Piaui and Maranhao and northern Tocantins. Collectively the region has been given the acronym of MAPITOBA.

Earlier this week parts of the region received the first rains of the season with 43 mm (1.7 inches) falling in the city of Luis Edurado Magalhaes, which is a principal agricultural center of western Bahia. The rainfall was not evenly distributed though with lessor amounts (12 mm or 0.5 inches) registered in the city of Barreira, also in western Bahia. Isolated heavier amounts were also recorded in the states of Goias and Tocantins with generally dry conditions in southern Piaui and Maranhao.

After months of hot and dry weather, farmers would like to receive 2-3 inches of precipitation before the start planting their summer crops. If they rush out and plant immediately after the first rain, there might not be enough soil moisture to insure adequate germination and stand establishment.

According to Somar Meteorologia, the rainfall during November in the region is expected to be below normal due to colder than normal water temperatures off the east coast of Brazil which tends to limit cloud formation and rainfall in the region.

In Conab's first estimate of the 2014/15 growing season released earlier in October, they estimated that these four states would produce 10.5 million tons of soybeans or approximately 11% of Brazil's total soybean production. The region is also a major cotton producer with the state of Bahia being the second leading producer following Mato Grosso.