Farmers in Brazil's Mato Grosso have started harvesting their soybean crop amid expectations of a bumper crop.
Field work began last week in three regions of the top-producing state. Around 1% of the state's harvest has been collected, according to Nery Ribas, technical director at the Mato Grosso Soybean and Corn Growers Association (Aprosoja).
Those who planted around Sep. 15 in Campo Verde and Primaveira do Leste in the south of the state, in Lucas do Rio Verde and Sorriso in the center-north and in Sapezal were the ones to kick off the harvest.
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Mato Grosso accounts for a third of Brazil's soybean harvest, which is estimated at around 90 million metric tons (mmt) this season.
As is habitual, rains are impeding the process of drying down the early cycle soybeans and those showers are pegged to continue for the next 10 days.
While the wet conditions reduce the quality of the early soybeans, it will benefit the vast majority of beans that are developing in the fields.
Many feared the corn earworm, or Helicoverpa armigera, would ravage crops this season, just as it did in the northeastern state of Bahia last year. However, wet weather has helped control the caterpillar.
With a large crop becoming more likely by the day, farmers will turn their thoughts to the marketing of the crop.
According to the Mato Grosso Agricultural Economy Institute (IMEA), Mato Grosso growers had only sold 48% of their projected 25 mmt crop, down sharply from 67% at the same stage the year before.
Alastair Stewart can be reached at Alastair.email@example.com
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