Dryness Still a Concern for Brazil Soy

By Alastair Stewart
DTN South America Correspondent

Brazilian farmers had planted 76% of their 2014-15 soybean crop as of Friday, representing progress of some 13 percentage points compared with a week before and only slightly behind progress seen last year when 79% was harvested at the same time, AgRural, a local farm consultancy, reported Monday.

But while sufficient rain has fallen over the last four weeks for farmers to plant quickly in the Center-West and Southeast and make up for the month-long delays caused by a dry October, precipitation remains irregular across most of the soybean belt.

The lack of blanket rains, combined with high temperatures, has not only hindered the development of some crops, it has fostered caterpillar populations. The situation is not yet critical but must be watched, said AgRural in its weekly crop report.

Soybean planting is almost complete in Mato Grosso, the No. 1 producing state, at 93%. Planting is now only three percentage points behind that registered at the same point last year. In the south of the state, it hasn’t rained for a few days but soil moisture remains good. In the top-producing mid-north, crops are looking healthy.

Mato Grosso do Sul had planted 95% of its crop. Soybeans in the north of the state are developing well, but the lack of rain in the south could become an issue if precipitation forecast for this week doesn’t fall.

In Goias, the crop was 81% planted, up 14 percentage points on last week but still behind the 93% registered at the same point last year. The lack of rain is worrying farmers there, although losses have yet to be registered. The presence of Helicoverpa caterpillars has been noted in several areas.

Hot dry weather and caterpillars are also stressing farmers in Parana, where planting moved forward a relatively slow eight points last week to reach 84% complete.

Similarly, dryness concerns are being reported in Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, where planting is 73% and 60% complete respectively.

While the sparseness of showers is not yet a critical problem in the South, it is becoming so in Sao Paulo, the No. 8 soybean state. With the crop 55% planted, some crops are suffering, said AgRural.

Unfortunately, little rain is forecast for Brazil’s South and Sao Paulo over the next week, although showers of varying strength will fall across the Center-West, said Somar Meteorologia, a local weather service.

(CZ\SK)