The belated arrival of spring rains to the center-west and southeast of Brazil at the end of October and the first week of November caused the 2015-16 soybean planting to accelerate sharply last week.
Fieldwork advanced 17 percentage points to reach 47% complete as of Friday, which brought it in line with progress last year but planting is still behind the five-year average of 57% planted at this stage of the harvest, said AgRural, a local farm consultancy.
Mato Grosso led the planting charge. Heavy showers on the previous weekend allowed farmers to man the tractors and planting moved forward 24 percentage points to reach 60% complete as of Friday, said AgRural. That's still a long way back from the five-year average of 83% but the opportunity to get seeds in the ground will have eased farmers' nerves.
Still, the rains weren't heavy enough to offset the impact of the dry start to the season and growers won't be pleased to see little rain in the Mato Grosso weather charts for the rest of the week. Indeed, some analysts are already contemplating lowering their Mato Grosso yield number because of the difficult start to the season.
In neighboring Goias, the rain was so heavy last week that many planters couldn't get into the fields for part of last week. But a couple of sunny days allowed planting later in the week and 44% of the crop was in the ground as of Friday, close to the 45% planted at the same time last year but well behind the five-year average of 71%, said AgRural.
The south did not suffer the same planting delays as the north in October. Planting in Parana, the No. 2 soy state, was 75% complete as Friday, ahead of the 68% posted last year and near the five-year average of 76%. In the early planting west of the state, a wet October and November has fostered healthy plants and some have entered flowering, said AgRural.
In the southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul, planting is progressing on schedule despite the excessive rain. Planting in the No. 3 soy state was 30% complete, ahead of the five-year average of 27%.
As the concerns over rains in the center-west diminish, worries about dryness in the northeast are growing. Rains typically arrive later in Bahia, Piaui, Maranhao and Tocantins but they need to come soon to get the season going.
Planting in Bahia was 8% complete as of Friday, well back from the five-year average of 27% at this stage.
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