SAO PAULO, Brazil (DTN) -- The Brazilian soybean season enters a new phase with producers finishing planting in the southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul just as harvesting starts in Mato Grosso, the No. 1 producing state in the center-west.
At both ends of Brazil's massive soybean belt, the outlook remains generally good, strengthening forecasts of a bumper crop of 81 million metric tons or more.
The handful of farmers who took a punt on planting soybeans in early September have started harvesting in the north, center-north and west of Mato Grosso over the last couple of days
No news of yields has come through, and the early yields won't be that representative as conditions and varieties will be different for the bulk of the harvest, which only gathers pace in February. However, in general, Mato Grosso farmers say the crop promises strong yields, with plants looking tall and heavily laden with pods.
One point of concern has been the lack of rain in the south of the state in December.
According to Somar Meteorologia, a local weather service, precipitation reached only 66% of the December average in parts of the south. However, the dry weather is not yet seen as a serious threat as the region enjoyed double the average rainfall in November.
In Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil's No. 3 soy state, planting efforts ran smoothly and the hot, humid weather has fostered strong early development, the state's agricultural department (EMATER) said in a report.
The high temperatures and extremely wet conditions were causing elevated levels of insect infestation, said the state, although farmers are managing to control the situation.
Elsewhere, cooperatives in Parana talk of crops in excellent conditions and expect to see super-early harvesting begin next week.
Alastair Stewart can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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