Hot, dry conditions during February in Brazil's south, southeast and beyond are hurting late-planted soybeans, which are in reproductive stages, said AgRural, a local farm consultancy, on Monday.
If temperatures don't drop and rains don't return before Feb. 15, the consultancy said it will lower its Brazilian crop forecast of 88.8 million metric tons.
Concerns are counterbalanced by reports of good early yields in the center-west, which hasn't been greatly affected by the dry spell, with Mato Grosso, the No. 1 soy state, performing particularly well.
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Brazil's soybean harvest is picking up pace. As of Friday, farmers had harvested 12% of the crop, up from 6% last week and 12% last year.
The main concerns center around Rio Grande do Sul, southern Parana and the northeastern state of Bahia, AgRural said.
Perhaps the most worrying situation is in the soy regions of northwestern Rio Grande do Sul, where there has been little rain for the last couple of weeks. No major losses have been registered yet but they will start mounting unless rain returns, the consultancy warned.
Unfortunately, forecasts don't indicate rain for the region in the next couple of days, although some rain is forecast for the end of the week.
There is also some concern about later-planted beans in southeastern Goias and southern Mato Grosso do Sul, on top of the losses in Bahia.
Still, the impression is that losses to late-planted crops will be at least partially offset by good short-cycle bean performance.
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