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309644

Brazil soy harvesting off to slow start after planting delays

By Ana Mano

SAO PAULO, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Brazilian soy farmers, who started planting late because of dry weather in the final months of 2020, have harvested only 0.4% of the cultivated soybean area this season, agribusiness consultancy AgRural said on Monday.

Brazil had harvested 1.8% of the sown area at this time last year, AgRural's statement said, though the country sowed a record high of more than 38 million hectares (93.9m acres) for the 2020/2021 cycle.

The most advanced work is in Santa Catarina, where farmers sowed the oilseeds days ahead of the usual calendar. The second most advanced state is Mato Grosso, the top grain producer in Brazil.

The consultancy said that after a dry start, rains and temperatures have favored development of the crop in January. However, there are reports of scarce rains in parts of Rio Grande do Sul, Maranhão, Tocantins, Bahia and the north and east of Mato Grosso.

Rain forecasts for the second half of January, if confirmed, should help these areas, AgRural said.

In December AgRural estimated Brazil's soybean production at 131.7 million tonnes. That forecast will revised and a new one will be releases this week, the statement said.

SUMMER CORN

The harvesting of summer corn reached 3.4% of the area in the Center-South of Brazil, up from the 2.5% at the same time last year, AgRural said.

Most of the work was done in Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina, where initial yield reports indicate a degree of crop failure because of climate issues, the consultancy said.

The Brazilian government has forecast a summer corn crop of 23.911 million tonnes and total corn output of 102.313 million tonnes this year.

The bulk of Brazil's corn is planted in soy areas after farmers harvest the oilseeds.

(Reporting by Ana Mano Editing by David Goodman)

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