South America Calling
Alastair Stewart South America Correspondent

Monday 10/15/12

Brazil Soy Planting Accelerates But Still Lags

Brazilian soybean farmers accelerated planting efforts over the past week following showers in many of the key-producing states.

However, rainfall continues to be far from uniform, particularly in the top-producing center-west, and the pace of planting continues to lag behind last year.

Farmers had planted 9% of the forecast planted area up to Oct. 11, behind the 13% planted last year despite an earlier start, according to Safras e Mercado, a local farm consultancy.

Fieldwork is moving forward quickest in Parana, the No. 2 producing state, where 21% of the crop is planted, and in Mato Grosso, the No. 1 producing state, where 17% was planted.

Farmers are planting where soil moisture levels allow, so progress has been made in areas such as center-north Mato Grosso, which has received 5 inches this month, according to the local Somar weather service, but less so in areas such as southern Mato Grosso, which Somar says hasn't registered an inch.

The good news for farmers is that rain will continue in the coming days, brought about by the gradual return of humidity to the tropical center-west or the cold front that sits over the south and southeast, said Somar in its weekly report.

Light-to-medium rainfall is forecast over the next week for all the regions currently planting soybeans, although the blanket rain needed to really kick start planting remains elusive.

With planting corn as a second crop increasingly becoming the rule rather than an exception and Asian rust mercilessly attacking late-planted crops, most farmers outside Rio Grande do Sul will look to have the majority of their soybeans in the ground by the end of October.

That was billed as an seasy task this year but the El Nino weather phenomenon has proven weaker than expected and not brought the promised early rain. Still, farmers aren't too concerned with the weather charts full of rain for late October and November.

Brazil is expected to plant a record crop of between 79 and 83 million metric tons this season.

Posted at 4:53PM CDT 10/15/12 by Alastair Stewart
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