South America Calling

Brazil's Soy Harvest Accelerates Further

Rains eased for a second week in Brazil's center-west, allowing soybean harvesting to proceed at a breakneck pace.

As a result, Brazil-wide harvested area almost doubled in seven days, reaching 27% of the projected 68.9 million acres for 2012-13 as of Friday, AgRural reported.

Torrential downpours had hampered field work for the first month of the season, leaving a lot of harvest-ready soy in the fields and harvest efforts well behind schedule. But with the turn in the weather, farmers raced combines through the fields, and harvest pace is now virtually on a par with the 28% collected at the same point last year.

While harvesting was quick across the center-west, its pace was truly astounding in the north of Mato Grosso, the No. 1 soy state, where farmers collected 30% of the crop in just seven days, taking total collected area to 61%.

In neighboring Goias, similarly sunny weather allowed the harvest to move forward 14 percentage points to 33% complete as of Friday. It was even wetter in Goias than Mato Grosso during January and early February and so progress remains well back on last year, when 55% was collected by this time. But one more week of dry weather would allow growers to bridge much of that gap.

Promisingly for farmers, the charts contain little heavy rain for the center-west over the next seven days, according to Somar Meteorologia, a local weather service.

Meanwhile, the crop looks in good shape.

According to reports from Agroconsult's Rally da Safra, crop tour, while early harvested crops across Mato Grosso suffered from the heavy rain, and will likely yield a little less than last year, the longer-cycle beans are looking in good shape, and will likely yield more.

It seems that the weather in the center-west and the south, the two major growing regions, have operated on a revolving axis this year and that tendency continued last week.

For while the rain eased in the center-west, it intensified in the formerly drought-hit south.

As a result, farmers in Parana, the No. 2 soy state, struggled to harvest. Indeed, there were reports of desiccated crops losing bean weight as they sat in the fields. Still, field work remains ahead of schedule in the state at 31% complete, up on the 23% harvested last year. And with cooperatives in the top-producing west of the state reporting average yields of 49 bushels per acre, all appears on track in the state.

In the southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul, showers continued to fall, allowing plants to further recover from a very dry January. With the moisture arriving just as much of the crop is filling pods, and more rain forecast for this week, a decent harvest now appears increasingly likely, said AgRural.

Alastair Stewart can be reached at


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