1. Dry conditions slow Brazil soybean planting –Reuters
Soybean planting in Brazil is behind the historical average due to dry weather in the center-west, analyst firm AgRural said in a Reuters report on Friday, with 20% of area planted compared to the 30% five-year average.
A year earlier at this time 16% of the crop was planted, while last week planting was 13% complete, AgRural said.
Top soy growing state Mato Grosso is most behind schedule because of lack of rain. Planting was 19.6% complete, up from 14.3% last week but behind the 20.1% a year earlier, the state's agricultural institute Imea said in a weekly bulletin.
AgRural also said planting there was 20% complete. In No. 2 soy growing state Parana, where El Niño brought more rainfall, planting was 57% complete. That is up from 42% last week and above the five-year average of 47%.
Rainfall in Mato Grosso has lagged for this time of year but is expected to nearly catch up to historical averages by early November, according to the Reuters Weather Dashboard.
2. China to resume pork purchases from U.S. plants – Bloomberg
China, the world's biggest consumer of pork, agreed to resume imports of the meat from 14 U.S. plants and warehouses, ending restrictions that had been in place, in some cases for more than year, according to a Bloomberg story.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said it reached an accord permitting supplies from six processing factories and eight cold-storage facilities. Facilities owned by JBS SA and Smithfield Foods Inc. were among those reinstated.
"This will allow a greater share of U.S. pork and product exports to China in the coming months," it said.
China had stopped pork exported from the plants and warehouses after some cases where meat was found to have traces of ractopamine, a drug used to help pigs gain muscle that's banned in the country.
El Nino >>
3. El Nino to get stronger in Australia
Australia's Bureau of Meteorology warned the current El Nino event now looks set to reach record levels and continue well into next year, reported Australia/s ABC news service.
Appearing at a Senate Estimates hearing in Canberra, bureau director Rob Vertessy said that while the current El Nino had not yet reached the peak of record-setting events in 1982 and 1997, "we forecast it to get there eventually around Christmas and the phenomenon could persist well into the autumn".
The bureau director said 2014 was already the world's warmest year on record, and 2015 looked highly likely to be a record as well.
Vertessy said 2015 was likely to rank in the top 20 hottest years for Australia. 2014 ranked as Australia's third-warmest on record, while 2013 currently holds the record for Australia's hottest year.
The deepening El Nino is bad news for farmers, with about one third of the country already experiencing rainfall deficiencies that are worse than the bureau's 'one in 10 years' benchmark.
"About half a million square kilometres of land, or just over 7% of the country, has got as bad as 'one-in-50-year' deficiencies or worse," Vertessy said.
"So there's quite bad drought conditions prevailing in Queensland and Victoria in particular, and these El Nino conditions look set to intensify that predicament."