South America Calling
Alastair Stewart South America Correspondent

Monday 02/24/14

Excessive Rain Hampers Mato Grosso Soybean Harvest

Heavy rain severely hampered soybean harvesting efforts in Mato Grosso, Brazil's No. 1 soy state, last week, according to AgRural, a local farm consultancy.

As much as 9 inches of rain fell in the north and east of the state.

Across Brazil, it was still a busy week for farmers, with some 9% of the crop harvested, said AgRural. But the Mato Grosso issues mean fieldwork, at 30% complete, is no longer that far ahead of last year, when 27% had been collected at the same stage.

The heavy rains in the state are affecting the quality of the beans and some moisture-related losses have been registered, the consultancy added.

In an attempt to limit losses, farmers have been harvesting in wet conditions. In Nova Mutum, center-north of the state, there are reports of farmers delivering beans with 27% moisture, the consultancy said.

With further rains forecast for this week, the situation is worrying for farmers. However, we mustn't forget that these issues are common at this time of year.

Another regular issue has also reared its head in Mato Grosso: the surge in freight costs come harvest time.

The cost of sending a metric ton of soybeans from northern Mato Grosso to Santos port has already reached R$315 ($134), which is a third higher than last month and over 20% higher than at the same stage last year.

In Mato Grosso as a whole, harvesting efforts were 48% complete as of Friday, up from 47% at the same stage last year.

In neighboring Mato Grosso do Sul, the harvest was 55% complete as of Friday, some 12 percentage points ahead of last year. Rain is also impeding farmers but, on the positive side, it is aiding the second-crop corn that has been recently planted.

The situation is similar in parts of Goias, but overall harvesting is further ahead of last year at 54% complete compared with 33% last year.

There is some good news for the Brazilian crop with temperatures dropping in the southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul, although rain continues to be irregular. More patchy showers are forecast for the next week.

The No. 3 soy state suffered amid dry weather over the last month, which has caused some losses to the crop, AgRural said.

In Parana, the No. 2 state in the south, fieldwork is now 31% complete, the same as last year.

The harvest is near completion in the west of the state, at 90%. Early yields were good, but according to AgRural, later-planted beans suffered amid hot, dry weather in January.

In the northeastern state of Bahia, rains have returned just in time for plants in reproductive stages, said AgRural. But two dry spells will have hurt the crop.

(AG)

Posted at 8:35AM CST 02/24/14 by Alastair Stewart
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