Back in June and July, Brazilians kept asking me about the overabundant rainfall in Indiana, Illinois and Missouri. I told them that, while it was a concern, beans are a tough crop, and there was a lot of calendar pages to turn before we would really know how bad it hurt. And while individual producers we getting out the tape measures in order to start on building that ark, national production and yields ended up looking good.
And so it is with the complaints of spotty rainfall so far in major Brazilian production centers.
Brazil's Celeres consultancy this week upped its estimate of that country's 2015-16 soybean planted area to 81.06 million acres, and saying the national average yield will drop more than a percentage point, to 44.7 bushels per acre. If they're right, that would put current season production at 98.9 million tonnes, up two percent over 2014-15.
Meanwhile, they put 2015-15 main-crop corn on 14.03 million acres, down some 5.5% from last season. But second-crop corn continues to increase, says the consultancy, at 57 million tonnes produced on 23.8 million acres, an area up 4.4% from the previous cycle.
Problems with rainfall in places like Mato Grosso got FC Stone, though, to cut its estimate for Brazilian 2015-16 soybean production to 100.451 million tonnes versus its previous estimate of 101.912 million tonnes.
The federal government says Mato Grosso producers will grow beans on up to 33,068,000 acres in 2015-16.
It's raining, but not pouring
Rainfall has been sporadic in states like Mato Grosso—Brazil's main bean producer—Goias, Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo states. But last week Mato Grosso producers saw some welcome precipitation, and took advantage of it to get beans in the ground.
Despite gripes among those who plant the earliest beans there, planting is finally moving along. At last report, experts in Mato Grosso estimated 2015-16 planting at 38% done, up more than 18 points from the previous week. Still, the rains that allowed from that planting progress have come a bit later than comfort would dictate, and producers may have to turn on the lights if they're going to get their soybean crop planted in time to put in all those second-crop corn acres early next year.
Meanwhile, down in Parana state, which is Brazil's number-two bean producer, it's estimated that 75% of the crop is in the ground. Government officials say Parana farmers will end up having planted up to 23,975,000 acres this season.
The big picture
The big picture indicates that, despite hiccups brought about by those anxious to get early beans in so that they can get second-crop corn planted within the window this season, planting nationally in Brazil is moving along just fine. The AgRural consultancy reportedly puts national 2015-16 soybean planting at 47% done, versus 46% done for the same week of last season.
In other words, there are still a lot of calendar pages to turn on the Brazilian 2015-16 soybean crop.