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December 1, 2020

2020/21 Brazilian Soybeans 87% Planted, Rainfall Improving

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

The 2020/21 Brazilian soybean crop is 87% planted compared to 87% last year and 88.2% average according to AgRural. The areas left to plant are Rio Grande do Sul and northeastern Brazil. Southern Brazil received some much needed rainfall late last week and over the weekend and there is more rain in the forecast for southern Brazil, so farmers in southern Brazil will now try to finish planting their soybeans as quickly as possible.

With the improved rainfall in southern Brazil, the concern about dry weather is now more in the south-central part of the country. If the weather improves quickly and stays good for the remainder of the growing season, the production estimate would probably not decline any further. If the rainfall remained sporadic with prolonged periods of dry weather during pod filling, there may be 10-15 million tons of potential soybean production at risk.

The weather has been very irregular across Brazil, but you can't get to negative concerning soybeans when the crop is just starting its reproductive phase, but I think there has been some yield losses in the dryer areas. There are regions in western Mato Grosso for example, that have only received about one inch of precipitation since September.

After a historically dry three months to start the growing season (September-October-November) there were some rains in the dry areas late last week and over the weekend and the forecast is calling for improved chances of rainfall. Thus far this growing season, the actual rainfall has been less than what was forecasted. Late last week and over the weekend, there were much needed showers in Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, and Parana.

The rainfall in Brazil thus far this growing season has been very sporadic and certainly not typical for this time of the year. The question now is how much damage has been done to the soybean crop and how much could the crop recuperate if the weather improves going forward.

Conab indicated that the rains during the first half of November in south-central and southern Brazil were below normal in volume and poorly distributed and the lack of moisture impeded the development of the soybeans. In the center-west region, only the state of Goias has received good rains. In northeastern Brazil, the rainfall has generally been good and the crop is developing normally or ahead of normal.

The good news last week and over the weekend is that the dry areas of Rio Grande do Sul did receive some much needed rainfall. Rainfall amounts were in the range of 1 to 2 inches. This will help no doubt, but much more rainfall will be needed to replenish the depleted soil moisture. The forecast is calling for improved chances of rainfall in southern Brazil especially starting the second half of December.

Mato Grosso Soybeans - The Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea) reported last Friday that farmers in the state had planted 99.6% of their 2020/21 soybeans. The start of the planting was delayed as much as 30 days in some locations, but farmers made rapid progress and the completion of the planting is ending at the normal time.

The delayed start to planting means that the start of the harvest will be delayed as well. The consulting firm Agroconsult estimated last week that farmers in the state of Mato Grosso will have harvested 4.5 million tons of soybeans by January 31st compared to 10.9 million tons last year at that time.

Parana Soybeans - The 2020/21 soybeans in the state of Parana were 97% planted earlier last week according to the Department of Rural Economics (Deral). The soybeans were 8% germinating, 85% in vegetative development, 6% flowering, and 1% filling pods. The crop was rated 4% poor, 24% average, and 72% good. The percentage of the crop rated good was up 2% from the prior week, but below the 77% rated good last year at this time.

Municipality of Guaira - Dry weather in the municipality of Guaira, which is located in northwestern Parana, forced farmers to plant their soybeans approximately 40 days later than normal. Once the initial rains occurred, farmers were able to plant their soybeans in a tight window with most of the crop planted during the month of October. Farmers are currently waiting for additional rainfall to insure adequate plant development.

Late last week, Deral estimated the 2020/21 soybean production in Parana at 20.5 million tons, which is down 1% compared to last year.

Rio Grande do Sul Soybeans - The soybeans in Rio Grande do Sul are 47% planted compared to 72% last year and 78% average according to Patria Agronegocias. Rio Grande do Sul is always one of the last states in Brazil to plant soybeans, but dry weather made this year later than normal.

The moisture deficit in the state for the last 12 months is in the range of 300 to 700 mm (12 to 28 inches), so it will take a sustained period of heavy rains to recharge the soil moisture. Soybeans in the state can be planted until the end of December, so with the recent rains, the soybeans should be planted within the normal window. These were the first good rains in about 30 days, so it remains to be seen how the dry weather impacted the crop.

Santa Catarina Soybeans - The state of Santa Catarina along with Rio Grande do Sul have been the two states most impacted by the prolonged dry weather in southern Brazil. State government officials in Santa Catarina have announced programs to help rural residents truck-in water, dig wells, purchase irrigation equipment, capture and store water, etc. The drought in Santa Catarina actually started late last year and continues to the present time. The state also received some rainfall over the weekend.

Northeastern Brazil Soybeans - Most areas of Brazil have received less than normal rainfall thus far this growing season, but that has not been the case in northeastern Brazil where the early summer rains have been good. Soybean planting is ahead of schedule in the region and farmers are expecting good yields if the weather continues to cooperate.