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September 8, 2016

Early Wheat Harvest off to Slow Start in Parana

The state of Parana in southern Brazil is the largest wheat producing state in Brazil and recent wet weather in the state has slowed the early start of the wheat harvest. Data from the Department of Rural Economics (Deral) indicate that 2% of the wheat has been harvested as of September 5th with most of the harvesting occurring in the northern and western regions of the state. The start of the harvest is slower than in 2015 when 10% of the wheat had been harvested by August 31st.

As of last week, Deral estimates that 17% of the wheat crop in the state had matured, but that harvest progress was slow due to high moisture in the grain.

Farmers are expecting better wheat yields this year compared to last year when heavy rains during harvest significantly impacted the crop. In northern Parana there were periods of dry weather at the start of the growing season, but that was replaced by more normal rainfall during most of the season. Even with a 14% reduction in wheat acreage in 2016, the state is expected to harvest 3.3 million tons of wheat which would surpass last year's production of 3.28 million tons.

Wet weather earlier this week is expected to be followed by a strong cold front in mid-week. The forecast is calling for the possibility of scattered frost across the central and southern areas of the state. The wheat in the southern part of the state is in a very sensitive stage and a frost could significantly impact the crop. In the northern part of the state, farmers are more concerned about wet weather than about cold temperatures.

Some farmers in the southwestern part of the state have started to plant their 2016/17 full-season corn crop. Corn planted by September 10th will be ready for harvest by early January, which would allow farmers enough time to plant a second crop of corn.