South America Calling
Alastair Stewart South America Correspondent

Monday 11/12/12

Rains Return to Brazil's Center West Soy Regions

Timely rains soaked soybean fields across Brazil's top-producing Center West region this past week, allaying concerns about the impact of a dry October on the nascent crop and allowing planting to surge.

Southwestern Goias and southern Mato Grosso, areas where dryness was of particular concern, enjoyed some of the heaviest dousings.

The dry weather delayed planting in October but last week planting gained pace. Brazil-wide soybean planting moved forward 13 percentage points last week to reach 53% of the estimated 69 million acres as of Nov. 9, according to AgRural, a local farm consultancy.

Planting would have progressed quicker had the persistence of the rain not impeded the entrance of machinery onto sodden lots, but fieldwork will accelerate further once gaps in the clouds appear.

Therefore, the difference between this year's progress and last year's, 65% planted as of Nov. 9, should fall in the coming weeks.

With the forecasts for the Center West full of rain for the next five days, it appears the normal summer weather patterns -- hot, wet and steamy -- have finally been established nearly two months after the start of the soybean season, which augers well for the rest of the season.

Rainfall of 1/2 inch to 2 3/4 inches was reported in Mato Grosso, the No. 1 soy state, and Goias, the No. 4 soy state, over the weekend, and a further 2 to 5 inches are expected over the next five days, according to Somar Meteorologia, a local weather service.

Farmers in Mato Grosso had planted 79% of their crop as of Friday, down from 87% last year. In Goias, planted area covered 57% of forecast compared with 76% last year.

In contrast with Mato Grosso, Parana, the No. 2 soy state in the south, received decent October rains and planting is on schedule there at 72% complete compared with 75% last year.

In the southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul, some 13% of the crop is in the ground, back from 35% last year amid heavy rains. Field work is expected to accelerate once the wheat harvest is completed there.

With heavy losses to the last U.S. and South American crops, buyers are looking to Brazil and Argentina to replenish stocks. Brazil is expected to produce between 80 and 83 million metric tons of soybeans this season, putting output on a par with the U.S.

Posted at 9:01AM CST 11/12/12 by Alastair Stewart
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