Brazilian soybean planting remains on schedule as the speedy fieldwork in the southern state of Parana is offsetting the slow start to the season in Mato Grosso.
Brazil-wide planting was 8% complete as of Friday, up from 3% last week and slightly ahead of the 7% recorded at the same stage last year, according to AgRural, a local farm consultancy.
Farmers across the north and west of Parana, the No. 2 soy state, try to plant early to make ample time for second-crop corn. Heavy showers during the last two weeks have allowed them to do that and, over the last seven days, the percentage of crop sowed jumped from 16% to 30%, far in advance of the 20% planted at the same stage last year, said AgRural.
In contrast, the start to planting has been very slow in Mato Grosso and the rest of the Cerrado, which normally leads the way.
Rainfall continues to be patchy in Mato Grosso and Goias, prompting farmers to keep the planters in the sheds. In previous years they may have planted anyway, but low soybean prices, in dollars, and local economic instability mean they are being cautious.
In Mato Grosso, farmers had planted 5% of the crop as of Friday, down from 8% last year. In neighboring Goias, planting covered just 2% of forecast area.
The dry start to the season in Mato Grosso and the heavy early season showers in the south are typical of an El Nino year. In such years, when the rain finally arrives in the Cerrado, it is normally abundant.
AgRural forecasts Brazilian soybean area will grow by 2.7% in 2015-16 to 81.0 acres.
Alastair Stewart can be reached at email@example.com
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