South America Calling

Brazil's Soy Planting Nears Close; Cerrado Dryness Concerns

Brazilian soybean planting moved toward completion last week amid continued concerns about dry weather in Mato Grosso and in eastern Cerrado states like Bahia and Maranhao, according to AgRural, a local farm consultancy.

Brazilian soybean planting progressed 7 percentage points, reaching 88% complete as of Friday, with field work concentrated in the southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul and the northeastern states of Bahia, Maranhao, Tocantins and Piaui, it said in a weekly report.

As has been the case for the entire season, planting is behind schedule. The five-year average progress for this stage of the Brazilian season is 94% complete

Hot, dry weather in the northeast is significantly delaying soybean planting and has already clipped productive potential there, said AgRural.

Producers in Bahia took advantage of showers last week to plant rapidly. The area sown in the state rose 20 points to 60% complete but remains well back on the five-year average of 92%. Of concern are weather forecasts of sparse rainfall over the next week in the region.

Planting in Piaui state did not progress as freely as in neighboring Bahia and remains just 20% complete, well back on the five-year average of 58% complete at the time of year.

But, because of the size of production, dryness weather in Mato Grosso could perhaps have the biggest impact on production. The most pressing problems are in northern Mato Grosso where some farmers have gone as much as 30 days without rain. However, most crops have had the occasional shower over the last month, which will have preserved the crop's yield potential, AgRural said. In the south and the west of the state, rainfall has been more consistent.

In southern Brazil, the problem remains excess rainfall.

In Parana, the No. 2 state, the crop remains 95% planted with showers making it difficult for farmers to finish up sowing in central areas. Meanwhile, in the early-planting west of the state, heavy rain is causing instances of pods falling and aborted flowering, said the consultancy.

The weather issues prompted AgRural to trim its 2015-16 crop forecast from 100.2 million metric tons (mmt) to 99.7 mmt.

(ES)

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