Delays plague Brazil harvest
The summer harvest in Brazil continues to lag behind the pace set last year, but overall progress remains pretty close to the 5-year average. As of last week, harvested was 30% completed in the South American country, compared with 46% a year ago. In top-producing state Mato Grosso farmers harvested 50% of their 19 million ton crop, versus 77% a year ago. In number 2 soy-producing state Parana harvest of their 14 million ton crop is 50% complete versus 75% a year ago.
Heavy rains in late February and early March have delayed the field work, and, in some cases, resulted in sprouted and moldy seeds and lower yields. The problems seem most acute in Mato Grosso do Sul, Center-West Brazil, a state that only produces 7% of Brazil's soybean. Constant wet weather for the past two weeks compromised about 30% of the state´s soy crop.
In Mato Grosso and Parana, on the other hand, yields are good to excellent so far, although there have been reports of soybeans being harvested at 30% moisture there. Together, those two states account for nearly half of the country’s soybean crop.
Despite of the harvest delays and crop losses in marginal grain-producing areas, Brazil has a good to excellent crop coming on. Most analysts are forecasting Brazil will produce a record soybean crop in excess of 70 million metric tons this year following near-perfect weather conditions between October and February. Gazeta do Povo’s Crop Expedition will release it’s figures early April.
Brazilian harvest roundup
The big problem in Brazil these days is not yield or crop size, but logistics. On BR-277, the main highway leading to Paranagua, Brazil's number 2 soybean port, rains caused landslides and destroyed several bridges, making the crop transportation a real hard job. Excessive rains also damaged roads in Center West Brazil. As a result, barges wait at the ports, as trucks wait along the road, have been a common scenario over the past few weeks. Transportation costs, both road and sea, are shooting up the roof, and domestic soybean prices are going downward.