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October 3, 2012

Early 2012/13 Planting Underway in Brazil

Brazil Soybeans - Farmers in Mato Grosso have taken advantage of some early season rainfall and planted approximately 2% of their 2012/13 soybean acreage estimated at 7.89 million hectares. The amount of soybeans planted this early in the season is generally small as farmers wait for more generalized showers. The near term forecast in the state looks rather dry so planting is expected to advance slowly this week. Many farmers are still cautious about planting their soybeans due to the dryer near term forecast. The farmers who have started planting their soybeans are generally those who want to plant a second crop of corn or cotton after the soybeans are harvested.

Farmers in Parana were only allowed to start planting their soybeans on September 21st and they have managed to plant 3% of the 2012/13 crop. The earliest planted soybeans are in areas of the state that normally plant full-season corn or dry beans. The soybean acreage in the state is expected to increase 4% to 4.58 million hectares.

Brazil Corn - The vast majority of the full-season corn in Brazil is grown in southern and southeastern Brazil in the states of Minas Gerais, Parana, and Rio Grande do Sul. Farmers in Parana have planted approximately 30% of their full-season corn acreage which is expected to be down 13% this year to 847,000 hectares. The average corn planting pace in Parana over the last three years for this date is about 35% planted so corn planting has been a little slow due to dryer weather earlier in September.

Farmers in Rio Grande do Sul have planted 35-40% of their corn crop. A strong cold front moved across the state last week bringing freezing temperatures to many areas of the state. Some of the early planted corn was impacted by the cold temperatures and freeze damage was observed. The corn was still small enough though that the growing point was below ground and the majority of the crop survived and will regrow new leaves. If the weather during the growing season cooperates, there should be little lasting impact from the cold temperatures. Heavy rains are expected to move into the state this week which should slow planting progress at least temporarily.

Argentine Corn Planting off to Relatively Slow Start

Argentina corn - Corn planting in Argentina is getting off to a relatively slow start with approximately 10% of the 2012/13 corn crop in the ground, which is about half the planting pace of last year. The planting pace is fastest in the central and eastern areas where 20% to 30% of the corn has been planted. The relatively slow start has been the result of wet conditions and recently cold temperatures. Some of the earliest corn that had already emerged was also impacted by the cold temperatures of last week.

Argentina soybeans - Now that the calendar has turned to October, farmers in Argentina will start to plant their 2012/13 soybean crop as soon as the soil conditions and the spring temperatures cooperate.

Soybean Production in Bolivia is Small but Potential is Large

Soybean production in Bolivia remains very small compared to the other soybean producing countries in South America, but it is slowly increasing. During the 2011/12 growing season, Bolivian produced 2.2 million tons of soybeans with all the production in the eastern lowlands near the border with Mato Grosso. The average soybean yields in Bolivia is in the range of 38 to 42 sacks per hectare (2,280 to 2,520 kg/ha or 33 to 36 bu/ac), which is about ten bushels per acre lower than in neighboring Mato Grosso.

Soybeans are a relatively new crop in Bolivia and the farmers and researchers are still in the process of developing production systems designed to maximize soybean yields. One of their challenges is the acquisition of soybean varieties adapted to the local conditions especially GMO varieties. Although Brazilian farmers have been growing GMO soybeans for nearly a decade, there new varieties are still a rarity in Bolivia. Soybeans are grown on only about a million hectares in Bolivia, but researchers feel that there could be as much as 20 million hectares suitable for soybean production in the future.