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Brazil Farmers Frustrated With Soybean Planting Delays
The 2017/2018 Brazilian soybean planting season is being described as very variable. While in the southern region of Brazil, it is raining, and the farmers accelerate planting in the central-west region is suffering from irregular rainfall. The unfavorable climate already threatens to damage the second corn crop.
Soybean planting in Brazil
Soybean planting reached 20% of the area forecast for the 2017/2018 harvest, according to the latest AgRural’s survey. Last year, planting was 29% in this period and 19% in the average of five years.
The southern region of Brazil has good soil moisture. Paraná, the second-largest producer of soybeans, has planted 53% of the area foreseen for soybeans. In Mato Grosso, sowing reached 27% of the area, with a heavy delay compared with planting 47% of the area in the same period last year.
In Mato Grosso, the main soybean-producing state, planting is delayed. Last weekend (October 21 and 22), it rained well in some areas, but farmers still feel insecure to plant the oilseed. “It rained last weekend, but it was little. It’s been 15 days that it does not rain well in our region,” says producer Albino Ruiz, president of the Rural Union of Ubiratã, in Mato Grosso. “The rains are quite irregular. For some, it rained; for other producers, it did not. Compared with last year, planting is well behind schedule.”
Ruiz started planting on September 29. Of the 4,500 hectares (11,119 acres) that will be planted with soybeans at Fazenda Irmãos Ruiz, it has managed to sow 1,500 hectares (3,706 acres) but already accounts for losses due to the bad climate. “Of these 1,500 hectares, I have had to replant 400 hectares (988 acres); the seeds have lost their germination because of the lack of rain,” says Ruiz.
He also says that with this scenario, producers should delay the marketing of soybeans. “I’m holding the sales. This isn’t the right time to sell because we may have production problems. The year has already started badly. I find it difficult to achieve the same productivity averages as last year. The average was 55, 60-kilo bags of soybeans per hectare; I think we will return to 52, 60-kilo bags per hectare this season,” says the producer.
Consequences of planting delay
Irregular rainfall could damage the second corn crop in Mato Grosso. “The problem was 12 days without rain. This will lengthen the soy cycle and compromise corn planting,” says Ruiz. The producer estimates that some areas of soybeans will be harvested around February 20, 2018.
However, areas with soybean varieties with an elongated cycle or where there was a delay in planting will only be ready for harvest in March 2018. It makes the second corn crop harvest unviable, he says. “I will only be able to make the maize crop in half the area because I have missed the deadline,” Ruiz says.
In Mato Grosso do Sul, the forecast indicates regularization of rainfall, according to producer Edy Elaine Tarrafel, president of the Rural Union of Ivinhema and Novo Horizonte do Sul, which represents about 500 soybean producers. “Here in our region, it rained two weeks ago and the farmers are managing to plant. It rained a lot last weekend, too. In some regions of the state, soybeans have not yet been planted,” she says.