If Brazilian farmers were to celebrate Thanksgiving, I'm guessing the top of their list of blessings to cite would include recent rains and their newly-reelected leftist administration that's not as bad as it could be.
Rainfall for soybean producers so far has been nothing to write home about, with things remaining generally too dry to get those short-cycle beans in early. As a result, any second-crop corn planting early next year may miss the planting window.
But, as they say, it's better late than never, and just ahead of the holiday, the AgRural consultancy estimated Brazilian planting progress had jumped 13% over the previous week, to reach 76%. And that would put them just three points under last year's planting rate for the same week of 2013.
In Mato Grosso state—which normally produces about one-third of Brazil's soybeans, and where they plant more acres of second-crop corn than anyone—planting is said to be 93% done.
The problem remains that those rains have been spotty and uneven, making for the kind of conditions hungry caterpillars like Helicoverpa armigera like. But hey, be thankful.
After that, though, prayers of thanks would probably turn to the increasingly favorable exchange rate between Brazil's currency and the U.S. dollar. With soybeans effectively quoted in dollars across the world—except in Argentina, with its risibly low official exchange rate—the slumping value of the greenback has eased the stress of falling CBoT prices.
That, of course, will just make inputs cost more next time around. But this is a time of thankfulness—not of dread.
The opinions of James Thompson are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or the Penton Farm Progress Group.