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March 24, 2020

Brazil Soybeans 70% Harvested, Variable Yields being Reported

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

Dry conditions returned to Rio Grande do Sul this week after scattered rains offered only a brief respite from the dry conditions. The forecast is calling for more hot and dry weather across the state for at least the remainder of this week. Additionally, variable yield reports are coming out of the state of Bahia in northeastern Brazil. Some yields are very good in the state and some yields are down as much as 20% from what was expected.

The weather in Brazil continues to follow a familiar pattern of showers across central and northern Brazil and generally dry conditions across southern Brazil. The forecast for this week is calling for more of the same.

The Brazilian soybean harvest was 70% complete as of last Friday compared to the average of 68.5% according to Arc Mercosul. This represents an advance of 7% for the week. The soybean harvest is complete in Mato Grosso, 75-80% complete in Parana, and 20% complete in Rio Grande do Sul.

Mato Grosso - The soybean harvest in Mato Grosso is 98.3% complete compared to the average of 92.6%

Parana - The Department of Rural Economics for the state of Parana (Deral), reported last week that 75% of the soybeans in the state had been harvested. In the municipality of Doutor Camargo, which is located in northwestern Parana, the soybean harvest is complete and farmers are disappointed with the results. Many farmers had anticipated soybean yields of 60 to 70 sacks per hectare (53.2 to 62.1 bu/ac), but the average yield has turned out closer to 50 sacks per hectare (44.4 bu/ac). The reason for the lower yields was a period of dry weather during February when the soybeans were filling pods.

Rio Grande do Sul - The soybeans in Rio Grande do Sul are approximately 20% harvested. The Technical Cooperative Group of the Federation of Agricultural and Livestock Cooperatives in the state of Rio Grande do Sul (FecoAgro/RS) estimated last week that the soybean crop in Rio Grande do Sul will be down 46.6% from initial expectations. Data concerning soybean production was collected from 21 cooperatives across the state representing 3 million hectares of soybean production.

Even though the state did receive some rain, the soybean losses are irreversible. In addition to lower yields, FecoAgro/RS indicated that the quality of the harvested soybeans will also be subpar. The governor of the state along with state legislators and industry representatives presented a list of measures to the Brazilian Minister of Agriculture that they said was needed to help producers in the midst of a drought.

Goias - In the municipality of Cristalina, which is located in eastern Goias, it was a very good year for soybean production according to the President of the Rural Syndicate. The soybeans are 70% harvested and the yields are averaging 58 sacks per hectare (51.5 bu/ac) compared to the average of 54 sacks per hectare (47.9 bu/ac). Farmers have already sold 75% of their crop for an average price of R$ 77 per sack (approximately $8.50 per bushel).

Bahia - The state of Bahia is responsible for approximately 5% of Brazil's soybean production and 58% of the soybean production in northeastern Brazil. According to the Association of Farmers and Irrigators of Bahia (AIBA), the lack of rainfall during the month of January negatively impacted the soybean crop during the critical pod filling phase. As a result, AIBA estimates that the soybean production in Bahia could be down as much as 20% compared to last growing season.

Due to the erratic nature of the rains across Bahia during the first half of the growing season, early yield reports are also highly variable. Generally, the earlier planted soybeans were impacted the most by the dry weather during December and January. The later planted soybeans seem to have fared better.

The Soybean & Corn Producers Association of Brazil (Aorosoja) lowered their 2019/20 Brazilian soybean estimate earlier last week to 120.6 million tons. This is down from their estimate of 124.5 million tons in December, 124.0 million in January, and 123.0 million in February. They indicated that the reduction was the result of reduced yields in Rio Grande do Sul where they expect the soybean production to decline to 12.8 million tons. The state was originally expected to produce more than 19 million tons of soybeans.