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September 13, 2011

Early Planting Underway in Southern Brazil

Corn - Farmers in western Parana started to plant a few of their 2011/12 full-season corn fields last week, but wet weather returned over the weekend brought planting activity to a halt. The main planting window for full-season corn in Parana is between September 15th and October 15th. Farmers in the northern regions of Rio Grande do Sul are also preparing to start planting their full-season corn as well. Corn planting in Rio Grande do Sul usually starts a little later than in Parana.

Soybeans - No soybeans have been planted as yet in Brazil. If adequate soil moisture is available, farmers in central Brazil will start to plant their 2011/12 soybean crop on September 16th. That is the end of the 90-day soybean free period and the first day they are allowed to start planting soybeans. Most of the soybeans in Mato Grosso will be planted from mid-September to the end of October. In southern Brazil soybean planting starts a little later and the main planting period will be during the months of October and November.

Rice - The farmers in Rio Grande do Sul have started to plant their 2011/12 rice crop. Farmers in the southwestern municipalities of the state usually start planting their medium maturity rice varieties in early September. As the planting season progresses they will switch to later maturing rice varieties as a way to better utilize their water resources. Over 60% of Brazil's rice is produced in Rio Grande do Sul where all the rice is irrigated. Rice acreage in Brazil is expected to be down from last year due to poor prices and increased imports of rice from neighboring countries. The strong Brazilian currency made imported rice cheaper than domestically produced rice.

Wheat - Parana is the number one wheat producing state in Brazil and the early wheat harvest has begun in the state. Approximately 20% of the 2.0 million hectares of wheat in the state has been harvested. Farmers in the state reduced their 2011 wheat acreage 3% due to low domestic wheat prices and greater potential returns from safrinha corn production. Wheat and safrinha corn compete for the same acres in Parana.

The state of Parana is expected to produce 2.48 million tons of wheat in 2011/12, which is 48% of Brazil's total wheat production. The wheat in Parana was negatively impacted by a series of freezes in June and July. Total wheat production in Brazil is expected to hit 5.14 million tons, which is 12.5% less than in 2010/11.

The second leading wheat producing state is Rio Grande do Sul and most of the wheat in that state is currently in the heading stage or in early grain filling. Most of the wheat in Rio Grande do Sul will be harvested in late October or early November. In both states, once the wheat is harvested, farmers will plant their 2011/12 soybean crop in the same field.