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Brazil's Soybean Planting Season Crawls Along

Farmers are way behind on selling soybeans.

SAO PAULO, Brazil -- Though it has rained in many Brazilian regions, farmers make slow progress in planting the 2017/2018 soybean crop.

According to the most recent AgRural consultancy survey, 1.5% of the Brazilian soybean area was sown. "Despite the reasonable advance, planting is delayed compared to 4.8% last year and 2.3% of the five-year average," the consultancy says.

The state of Paraná leads the planting, with 7.3% of the soybean area already planted, but the percentage is well behind the 17% of the same period last year. In Mato Grosso, 1% of the area for soybean in the 2017/2018 crop is sown, compared to 6.5% a year ago. With recent rains and new volumes planned for the next days, planting should advance in the South and Midwest regions of Brazil.

Planting in Mato Grosso

Gilberto Eberhardt, a producer from Lucas do Rio Verde (Mato Grosso state), began planting soybeans from the 2017/2018 harvest a week ago. He grows soybeans on 1260,24 acres, on the Recanto Farm.

Cautiously, he waited for the arrival of the rain to begin the field activities safely. "In the region of Lucas do Rio Verde it rained very well, from 60 to 90 millimeters", says the producer. Generally, planting on this area begins on September 15, but low humidity has delayed fieldwork in more than 10 days.

If time continues to favor the farm, Eberhardt plans to finish the sowing before October 20. "From climate predictions, I'm thinking it's going to be an excellent crop. I made an investment in limestone and hope to improve productivity, "says Eberhardt.

Soybean marketing

According to Eberhardt, the negotiations on soybean futures contracts are delayed this year. While in the same period of 2016 the producer had traded 70% of the production in the future market, this year it only has 15% of the businesses closed. "The price is very low and without expectation of improvement," he says.

The Rocheto group, which grows potatoes, soybeans and corn with farms located in the states of Minas Gerais, São Paulo and Mato Grosso, is also preparing to start planting and face prices considered low.

According to Isidro Velasco, Grupo Rocheto's administrative and financial manager, the company will start planting soybeans in October, with 41,600 hectares (102795,84 acres) of soybeans in Mato Grosso, 5,700 hectares (14085,01 acres) in Minas Gerais and 2,200 hectares (5436,318 acres) for the oilseed crop in São Paulo . "With the climate neutral, I believe things will flow well during the harvest. But, I particularly think the price [for soy will not be good," he says.

According to Velasco, the low price will be influenced especially by the unfavorable exchange rate for the Brazilian producer. "The ideal would be to have a dollar for R$ 3.50, but I believe the exchange will be around R$ 3.20 [during the 2017/2018 harvest]," he says.

Brazilian soybean crop

In the most recent AgRural's estimate for the 2017/2018 soybean crop, the planted area forecast had a small positive adjustment and is now estimated at 34.563 million hectares, with an annual increase of 1.9%. Production is estimated at 109.9 million tons, with an annual decrease of 3.7%.

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Written by Naiara Araújo, editor for Succesful Farming-Brasil

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