South America Calling
Alastair Stewart South America Correspondent

Monday 10/22/12

Brazil Soybean Planting Continues to Lag

Brazilian soybean planting continues to lag due to irregular rainfall across the top-producing Center-West, and the weather charts indicate little rain for the region over the next week, starting to raise concerns about the plants in the ground.

Soybean farmers had planted 16% of their forecast 67.4 million acres up to Oct. 19, progress compared with the 9% registered the Friday before but behind the 21% registered last year, according to Safras e Mercado, a local grains consultancy.

The lack of blanket showers has prompted farmers to put off October planting in Mato Grosso, Brazil's No. 1 soybean state, where 26% of the crop is planted compared with 40% at the same point last year.

It has rained, but the light showers have been largely insufficient to fully replenish soil moisture after a dry winter. However, farmers are now at the point that they may have to plant with the moisture they have, said Cleber Noronha, grains analyst at the Mato Grosso Agricultural Economy Institute (IMEA).

"They don't want planting to stretch late into November," he told DTN.

The situation is even worse in Goias, the No. 4 soy state, where rains have been very scarce and only 3% of the crop has been planted, compared with 20% last year. In Rio Verde, the state's soy center, it has rained just one inch in October, compared with a monthly average of nearly 6 ½ inches.

Rain is forecast across the Center-West nearly every day this week, but the showers will continue to be sparse and intermittent, according to Somar Meteorologia, a local weather service.

However, it is due to rain harder in the first week of November,

"The first five days of November rains will be more organized over the Center-West and Northeast," said Somar in a report.

The outlook is much brighter in the south of Brazil, where it has rained heavily for the last couple of weeks.

As a result, field work has progressed well in southern regions that plant early. Parana, the No. 2 state, had planted 36% of the crop to Oct. 19, just behind the 38% planted at the same point last year.

And further heavy showers are predicted for north and western Parana on Monday and Tuesday, according to Somar.

Brazil is forecast to produce a record crop in 2012-13 and possibly become the world's biggest soybean producer.

Early Monday, Safras e Mercado raised its Brazilian forecast to 82.5 million metric tons, up 24% on the year before, based on a 9% increase in planted area. The figure is at the top end of the market consensus for the top of 79 to 83 mmt.

Posted at 2:25PM CDT 10/22/12 by Alastair Stewart
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