ripe soybeans ready for harvest alffoto/ThinkstockPhotos

Daily rains slow Brazil’s early bean harvest

Yields so far not affected.

As below-freezing temperatures were forecast for the week across much of the U.S. Midwest, Brazil’s Mato Grosso farmers are operating the combines between rains.

As a result of all the precip, this season’s harvest is running behind last year’s pace. According to the most recent reports, producers in Brazil’s top bean state (Mato Grosso) are 1.5 percent done harvesting their projected 23.3 million 2017-18 acres, versus the five-year average for the week, of 2.9 percent.

In some places, like northern Mato Grosso—whose farmers are typically among the first to get their early beans in the ground each September—it’s been raining every day.

The delay in getting those early-maturing Mato Grosso beans in—down in southern Brazil, it’s still too early start harvest—likely won’t hurt yields much. One Mato Grosso producer told a reporter he was averaging nearly 52 bushels per acre on those fields he’s been able to harvest, and expects to end the season with a farmwide average more like 53.

Late bean planting, late second-crop corn

Even so, there are signs the lateness of planting those early beans combined with the lack of a let-up in mid-January rains, may well have an effect on Brazil’s 2017-18 safrinha (second-crop corn). Mato Grosso happens to be Brazil’s biggest state for that crop, too, and, with so many wet fields still full of beans, second-crop corn planting is lagging as well. By last weekend, the state’s producers had planted just .08 percent of the season’s projected 10.5 million acres for the season (down about 10 percent from 2017-18.)

Experts at the Mato Grosso Agricultural Economics Institute said, “The heavy volume of rain since the first week of the year as made soybean harvest largely impossible across the state, and thus (second-crop corn) planting is already two points behind that seen at this time of last year.”

They’re looking for second-crop corn planting to pick up after the 20th or so.

Make room for the beans

Meanwhile, just south of Mato Grosso, there are reports of trucks packing the highways, hauling corn to make room in storage for the coming bean crop. In the state of Mato Grosso do Sul (South Mato Grosso,) the bean harvest should get into gear within the next two weeks, but some 1.7 million tonnes—some 17 percent of last year’s corn crop—is still in storage. And that doesn’t count the estimated 570,000 tonnes the state still has left over from 2016-17.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.

TAGS: Soybean
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