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September 25, 2013

South American Weather and Early Planting Progress

Brazil weather dry north, wet south - It's still too hot and dry in Mato Grosso and the rest of central Brazil for any significant soybean planting. There were a few isolated pop-up showers over the weekend and there will be a few more this week, but not enough to encourage widespread soybean planting. Farmers generally like to receive 2-3 inches of rain before they start planting their soybeans to insure successful germination and stand establishment. The temperatures in central Brazil are in the 90's to low 100's, which is typical for this time of the year.

In southern Brazil they received a lot of rain late last week and over the weekend from the passage of a cold front. There was even a tornado in southern Sao Paulo resulting in two deaths and widespread destruction in one small town. There is now probably ample soil moisture to plant all across southern Brazil and there might even be too much moisture in parts of Rio Grande do Sul and Parana. Temperatures in southern Brazil have warmed up to the 70's, 80's and even the 90's.

Brazil corn planting progressing in southern Brazil - Farmers in southern Brazil have started to plant their 2013/14 corn crop. In the state of Parana, approximately 25% of the 2013/14 corn crop has been planted and in Rio Grande do Sul; about 40% of the full-season corn has been planted. The corn planting progress in southern Brazil is about equal to the long-term average and as soon as the soils dry out, farmers will resume planting their full-season corn. There was some light patchy frost earlier last week in Rio Grande do Sul, but it only resulted in minor damage to the recently planted corn.

Brazil soybean planting slow to get started - Now that the 90-day soybean free period has ended in many Brazilian states, farmers are allowed to start planting their 2013/14 soybean crops as soon as they feel the conditions are suitable. There are reports of isolated fields of soybeans being planted in Mato Grosso especially if irrigation is available. There were also a few fields of soybeans planted last week in Parana as well. Nationwide, the soybean planting is probably less than one percent.

Conditions in central Brazil probably will not favor much soybean planting this week, but the planting pace might pick up a little in southern Brazil. The way the forecast looks, I do not expect to see many soybeans planted in Brazil before October 1st.

The soybean planting window in Brazil can be very wide. I would not consider the soybeans to be late unless planting was delayed past the end of October. The soybean yields generally do not start to decline unless planting is delayed well into November. In recent years though, the trend has been to plant early maturing soybeans as early as possible in order to allow enough time for a second crop of corn to be planted.

Any significant delays in soybean planting could impact the safrinha corn acreage as well as yields. It could also delay the start of soybean exports from Brazil early next year which would make the market very nervous. If the soybean planting is concentrated into a shorter timeframe, then the harvest would be concentrated as well which could cause the logistical problems in Brazil to be even worse than what is already expected.

Argentine weather OK north, dry but improving south - The spring weather in Argentina has not been very good for early spring planting. The dry winter weather has continued on into spring and many areas of central Argentina are too dry for adequate germination and stand establishment. The passage of a cold front this week is expected to bring rainfall of varying intensity to much of the country which should allow for a more rapid planting pace. The temperatures across Argentina have generally been "spring-like."

Corn planting in Argentina slow at 3% - The farmers in Argentina have planted about 3% of their anticipated 2013/14 corn crop, which is about half the normal planting pace for late September. Most of the planting has occurred in the northern and northwestern regions where rainfall has been more abundant.

Soybean planting in Argentina yet to begin - There are no reports of soybeans being planted in Argentina and most farmers are reluctant to start planting their soybeans until the first of October.

Sunflower planting in Argentina also slower than normal- Farmers in Argentina have planted approximately 20% of their intended sunflowers, which is 10% slower than last year. Argentine farmers are expected to plant about 1.7 million hectares of sunflowers, which is a decline of about 6% compared to 2012/13.