May 21, 2014

Prohibition of Safrinha Soybeans being proposed for Mato Grosso

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

Scientists in Mato Grosso are concerned that planting a second crop of soybeans back-to-back could pose a significant risk to the full-season soybean crop planted just 90 days after the safrinha soybeans are harvested. They feel that using the same fungicides and insecticides in the safrinha crop will accelerate the development of resistant strains of soybean rust and corn earworm.

A Plant Protection Commission in Mato Grosso would like to see a prohibition on planting soybeans past December 31st, which would essentially eliminate safrinha soybean production in the state. The commission has delivered documents to the Mato Grosso Plant and Livestock Protection Division (Indea) outlining their concerns and suggesting a prohibition on planting soybeans past that date. Indea has responded by calling for more discussion of the matter before any decision is made. The Mato Grosso Soybean and Corn Producers Association (Aprosoja) is also calling for additional research to be conducted to evaluate if the scientist's fears are justified.

The Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea) has not released an official estimate of the safrinha soybean acreage in the state, but many in the industry feel that it could be more than 120,000 hectares or six times more than what was planted last growing season. Early harvest results in the state are mixed with yields in the range of 10 to 30 sacks per hectare (600 to 1,800 kg/ha or 9 to 26 bu/ac). The lowest yields are being reported from producers that had the most difficulty controlling diseases and pests.

According to the vice president of the Rural Syndicate in Sinop, Mato Grosso, Antonio Galvan, some farmers planted safrinha soybeans with the intention of saving the seed to plant in the fall. Their concerns are focused on the higher royalties being charged for Intacta RR2 soybeans compared to Roundup Ready soybeans. Monsanto is charging a royalty of R$ 96.50 to R$ 115 per hectare for Intacta soybeans (US$ 17.75 to 21.15 per acre) compared to R$ 20 per hectare (US$ 3.75 per acre) that was charged for Roundup Ready soybeans.

This same group just won a favorable ruling last week from a superior court judge in Mato Grosso that struck down Monsanto's licensing agreement that prohibits farmers from saving Intacta soybeans for future planting. This will not be the last word on this matter because the ruling is sure to be appealed by Monsanto.

The state of Parana has the second largest acreage of safrinha soybeans estimated at 108,000 hectares by the Parana Secretary of Agriculture. That would represent an increase of 34% compared to last growing season. Technicians in the state feel that the safrinha soybean yields will not surpass 30 sacks per hectare or 26 bushels per acre. In both states the soybean harvest must be completed by June 15th in order to avoid violating the 90-day soybean free period which starts on that date.

The Plant and Livestock Protection Division in the state of Parana is keeping a close watch on the situation, but has indicated that they do not see a need to take drastic action at this point to prohibit the planting of safrinha soybeans. Their focus at the present time is to minimize the risk of soybean rust being propagated from the safrinha soybeans to the next soybean crop which will be planted in the fall.