SAO PAULO, Brazil (DTN) -- A lack of rain and high temperatures again delayed soybean planting in the key Center-West region last week, causing fieldwork in Brazil as a whole to fall further behind schedule.
Farmers had planted just 20% of the Brazilian 2015-16 soybean crop as of Friday, some 10 percentage points behind the five-year average, AgRural, a local farm consultancy, forecast.
The planters are normally running at full tilt across the whole of Brazil by the third week of October, but for the second year running, the El Nino weather phenomenon appears to have delayed the return of spring rains.
In Mato Grosso, farmers had planted 20% of forecast area, well behind the five-year average of 52%. AgRural reported that farmers were anxious for the rains to arrive.
In neighboring Goias, the crop was 6% planted against the average of 38%. But rain did return to the top-producing southeast on Thursday, offering hope that fieldwork might accelerate.
In contrast, soybean planting continues to move forward quickly in the southern state of Parana amid abundant showers. Fieldwork there is 57% complete, up from the five-year average of 47%.
Planting is just starting in Rio Grande do Sul, where 2% of soybeans are in the ground compared with an average of 8%. The state has received a series of deluges, and areas such as Ijui are too wet for many to plant.
Soybean planting moved forward seven percentage points over the past week.
The good news for Brazilian farmers is that weather maps indicate the return of rain to Mato Grosso over the next couple of days, alleviating the dry spell that has extended as long as 20 days in some parts.
According to Somar Meteorologia, a local weather service, most of the Center-West will receive sustained rainfall through the first week of November.
Alastair Stewart can be reached at Alastair.email@example.com
Follow him on Twitter @AStewartbrazil
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