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January 20, 2021

Rains Help to Stabilize Brazilian Soybeans, Less Than 1% Harvested

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

There were good rains across much of Brazil last week and the forecast is calling for more rain early this week with a dryer pattern starting later in the week. The two areas with the least amount of rain last week were Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil and also northeastern Brazil, but even in those two areas, they received some rain last week.

I think the weather has been good enough to stabilize the soybean crop and what we have to watch for going forward is the potential for a return of a dryer weather pattern in southern Brazil and northeastern Brazil.

The 2020-21 Brazilian soybean harvest is still less than 1% with AgRural estimating the harvest at 0.4% compared to 1.8% last year. This year's soybean harvest will peak in late February or early March, which is about 2-3 weeks later than normal.

The first 5-10% of the soybeans harvested in Brazil will have lower yields because the early maturating soybeans were impacted by periods of dry weather during November and early December when the crop was filling pods. Some of the early soybeans will have yields in the range of 35 to 45 sacks per hectare (31 to 40 bu/ac). The soybean yields will increase starting about February 10-15 when they start to harvest the later maturing soybeans.

If the weather during February turns dryer as some are forecasting, it could impact the pod filling of the later maturing soybeans, but to really hurt the yields, there needs to be periods of dry weather not just less-than-normal rainfall. During the heart of the rainy season, Brazil can receive much more rainfall than what is needed to support the crop, so an area can receive 50% of its normal rainfall and still be enough to result in normal yields if the rains are distributed equally.

Mato Grosso - The 2020/21 soybean crop in Mato Grosso was 0.8% harvested last week according to the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea). This compares to 5.8% last year and 4.6% average. Early yields continue to be disappointing because these early maturing soybeans were impacted by dry weather when they were filling pods. The soybeans that will be harvested starting about February 10th should have normal yields.

Municipality of Rondonopolis, Mato Grosso - In the municipality of Rondonopolis, which is located in southeastern Mato Grosso, the start of the soybean planting was delayed up to 20 days due to dry weather and then dry weather again in November delayed the planting even more. As a result, the soybean harvest will start between February 5th and the 10th and extend into March.

Farmers are expecting lower yields in localized areas for some of the earlier planted soybeans, but the weather improved during December and January which should result in good yields for the later planted soybeans. Even with the delayed soybean harvest, farmers are still expected to plant all of their intended safrinha corn due to the strong corn prices.

Municipality of Nova Ubitata, Mato Grosso - In the municipality of Nova Ubirata, which is located in south-central Mato Grosso, farmers have harvested all their irrigated soybeans and they are reporting yields 10% to 15% below those of last year. The problem was hot and dry weather during planting that resulted in low plant populations. Their center pivots could not keep up with the water demand.

After the soybeans are harvested, farmers are planting their safrinha corn and it is expected that 70% of the corn will be planted within the ideal window and 30% will be planted after the window has closed.

Parana - The soybeans in Parana are 10% in vegetative development, 43% flowering, 44% filling pods, and 2% maturing according to the Department of Rural Economics (Deral). The soybeans are rated 3% poor, 15% average, and 82% good. The soybean harvest in the state was still less than 1% earlier last week.

In the municipality of Campo Mourao, which is located in western Parana, a 30-50 day dry period delayed the start of soybean planting, but since then, the rains have been more regular. As a result, farmers are expecting more-or-less normal soybean yields with some lower yielding fields. The bigger concern is for the safrinha corn which will be planted much later than normal increasing the risk of potential frost before the corn matures.

Rio Grande do Sul - The soybean planting in Rio Grande do Sul wrapped up last week with the crop now 69% germinating and in vegetative development, 24% flowering, and 7% filling pods. Rainfall across the state continues to be irregular with less than complete coverage.

Minas Gerais - The soybean acreage in the state of Minas Gerais is estimated to have increased 10.6% to 1.8 million hectares and the production is estimated at 6.7 million tons which is up 8.7% compared to0 last year.

Conab is estimating the Brazilian soybean production at 133.6 million tons, which is down 0.76 from their December estimate, and the USDA is estimating the crop at 133.0 million tons, which is unchanged from their December estimate.

New crop soybeans should start arriving at Brazilian ports by early to mid-February with volumes increasing in March and April. The first exportable soybeans may come from the state of Parana where the early harvest is just now starting, but the main harvest will start about mid-February.