South America Calling
Alastair Stewart South America Correspondent

Monday 10/07/13

Brazil Soy Planting Underway

SAO PAULO, Brazil (DTN) -- Last week was another frustrating one for soybean farmers in Mato Grosso, whose attempts to plant were stymied by a lack of soil moisture.

Mato Grosso farmers' attempts to plant soybeans were stymied by a lack of soil moisture this past week. (DTN file photo)

Rainfall was sparse and irregular over Brazil's No. 1 soy-producing state in a continuation of the dry conditions that have existed since the soybean-planting window opened three weeks ago.

As a result, just 3% of the state's projected soybean area was planted as of Friday, well behind the 6% registered at the same stage last year, according to AgRural, a local farm consultancy.

Winters are dry in the state, and so farmers like to see a couple of heavy showers before planting summer soybeans. Balanced against this is the desire to plant as early as possible to allow ample time for a second crop of corn or cotton.

But with local corn prices unappealing and logistics costs soaring, farmers are less disposed to taking risks with their summer soybeans, their main crop, in order to plant corn afterward, said AgRural.

As a result, fewer farmers than in previous years are willing to plant soybeans in dry conditions, hoping that rain will arrive in time for germination.

"There is no reason to accelerate soybean planting, if you aren't going to plant second-crop corn afterwards," explains Sadi Beledelli, a grain farmer in Sorriso, Mato Grosso.

In contrast, heavy rains last week allowed soybean planting to accelerate in western Parana, another state that starts early.

Field work covered 10% of the state's projected area as of Friday, ahead of the 7% registered at the same time last year and an advance of 7 percentage points on the week before, said AgRural.

The net result is that Brazil-wide soy planting is more or less on schedule.

According to AgRural, Brazil has planted 3% of its projected area, on a par with last year and just one percentage point behind the five-year average.

And field work will likely accelerate over the next two weeks as light, but persistent, showers are forecast for key parts of Mato Grosso.

Showers over the weekend will be supplemented by further precipitation during the course of the week in mid-north and western Mato Grosso, bringing 3 to 4 inches of rain in the seven-day period, according to Somar Meteorologia, a local weather service.

All in all, it's a slow start to the soybean season but nothing that will significantly change expectations for the crop.

AgRural forecasts Brazilian soybean planted area will this season rise 6% to 72.6 million acres and production will jump 9% to 89 million metric tons.

Alastair Stewart can be reached at alastair.stewart@telventdtn.com

(AG/SK)

Posted at 10:55AM CDT 10/07/13 by Alastair Stewart
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