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Soybean farmers in Brazil started planting the 2016/17 crop in late September. According to AgRural, 5% of the total Brazilian soybean crop has been planted.

In Mato Grosso, the biggest producer of soybeans, the planted area reached 4.51% on September 30, according to the state’s Institute of Agriculture and Cattle Farming Economy. In Paraná, the second biggest producer of soybeans, planting is moving more quickly with 27% of soybean planting complete, according to the Department of Rural Economy.

Optimism in the field

Farmer Trajano Donadel will plant soybeans on 1,655 acres at Fazenda Nossa Senhora da Salete, in the city of Toledo, Paraná. Nearly 50% of this area is already seeded and with the weather forecasts, he anticipates being done in the next 10 days.

“We had over 20 days with no rain, but now the planting is going well,” says Donadel. “Everyone is more optimistic because it seems that it will be a year with normal weather, with no excessive rainfall or drought.”

This is a relief after the negative affects of El Niño last year. Soybean productivity decreased 10% to 15% in the 2015/16 crop year, from 58 to 62 bushels per acre to 49 to 52 bushels per acre.

“Very few farmers in the region harvested the same as or more than the 2014/15 crop. The expectation for this crop is to recover the productivity,” says Donadel.

Farmers are also optimistic because of a lower cost of production. “This year, with the decreased dollar rate, there was a slight reduction in the price of inputs, and the production cost is in an acceptable level,” explains Donadel. “The cost of my crop will be about 27 bushels per acre.”

Weather may benefit soybeans

In the city of Lucas do Rio Verde, Mato Grosso, nearly 25% of soybeans are already planted. Carlos Simon, president of the city’s rural union, says that the region’s farmers are more optimistic with the 2016/2017 crop. “It has rained. We have many areas already planted, and the forecast is for more rain,” says Simon.

In addition to being president of the rural union, Simon is also a soybean farmer. At his farm in Lucas do Rio Verde, 34% of the area is already planted, and the rest will be wrapped up in the next 20 days.

“In principle, there will be no issues with planting, but we have an open skies industry. Today the weather is good, but tomorrow it may change,” says Simon. However, on another one of his farms, in Diamantino, planting has not begun due to lack of rain.

The yield may be bigger than the previous crop, when many Mato Grosso farmers suffered losses and harvested less than 46 bushels per acre. According to Simon, the expectation for the 2016/17 crop is to harvest an average of 55 bushels per acre. However, during the growing season, pests and diseases, such as the white fly, and the excess or lack of rainfall may reduce this initial number. Thus, Simon believes that if the final yield is 52 bushels per acre, this will be a good scenario for farmers.


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