Oct 27, 2020

2020/21 Brazil Soybeans 23% Planted, Average is 34%

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

Brazilian Weather - The weather in Brazil is improving and last week was the best week thus far for rain. The rainfall is still less than normal and the coverage is less than uniform, but it is improving. The rainfall last week was better in south-central Brazil in places like northern Mato Grosso do Sul, Goias, and Minas Gerais. More rainfall is still needed in the far southern production areas.

The 2020/21 Brazilian soybeans were 23% planted compared to 32% last year and 34% average according to AgRural. This represents an advance of 15% for the week. In the two biggest producing states, the soybeans in Mato Grosso were 24.8% planted as of late last week and they were 32% planted in Parana as of a week ago. Even though the planting pace is picking up, the soybeans are still going to be planted at least two weeks later than normal.

Soybean yields in Brazil could still end up being normal if the weather continues to improve. The main thing I worry about is the potential for dry periods during pod filling in December and January.

One of the problems of planting soybeans later than normal in Brazil is that it exposes the soybean crop to soybean rust for a longer period of time. Brazilian farmers and scientists have been able to control soybean rust better and better in recent years, but one of the factors for improved control has been early planting and early harvesting of the soybeans. That is not going to happen this year, but on the other hand, if the rainfall this growing season ends up being less than normal, that would help to limit the spread of soybean rust. There have been 10 cases of rust reported thus far in Brazil and all have been in the state of Tocantins.

Mato Grosso Soybeans - The soybeans in Mato Grosso were 24.8% planted late last week compared to 64.5% last year and 48.7% average according to the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea). This represents an advance of 16.6% for the week, but it is still almost 40% behind last year. The most advanced planting is in the western part of the state where about 40% of the soybeans have been planted. The soybean planting in Mato Grosso is approximately 2-3 weeks later than last year.

Parana Soybeans - Farmers in Parana had planted 32% of their 2020/21 soybeans as of earlier last week according to the Department of Rural Economics (Deral). This is double the 16% planted the prior week. At this time in 2019, the soybeans were 45% planted and in 2018, they were 59% planted.

Planting is slower than normal this year due to the delayed start of the summer rains. Many farmers are still waiting for enough rainfall to insure germination and stand establishment, especially in the northern part of the state. The near term forecast is calling for limited shower activity across the state.

The delayed soybean planting means that the safrinha corn, which is planted after the soybeans are harvested, will be planted later than desired as well. If the safrinha corn is planted after about mid-February, there is an increased risk of freezing temperatures occurring before the corn is mature. The state of Parana is the second leading producer of safrinha corn after Mato Grosso.

Farmers in the state have harvested 84% of their winter wheat, which is up 5% from the prior week. Farmers will plant soybeans as soon as they harvest their winter wheat.

Rio Grande do Sul Soybeans - Dry conditions in Rio Grande do Sul are impacting soybean planting and corn development. The soybeans in the state are 5% planted and according to the president of Aprosoja/RS, the ideal planting window goes until the end of November, so good yields are still possible if the rains become more regular. He emphasized the importance of planting the soybeans under the best possible conditions in order to produce 20 million tons of soybeans. The irrigated soybeans are developing fine, but irregular emergence is being reported with the dryland soybeans.

The farmers in the state have had a tough year, the 2019/20 crops suffered from drought, the 2020 winter crops encountered freezing temperatures and dry conditions, and now the weather is impacting the start of the 2020/21 growing season. Farmers have forward contracted about 25% of their 2020/21 soybeans for prices in the range of R$ 82.00 to R$ 130.00 (approximately $6.90 to $11.00 per bushel), but they will now slow future sales waiting for the crop to develop further.

Mato Grosso do Sul Soybeans - In the municipality of Sao Gabriel do Oeste, which is located in northern Mato Grosso do Sul, the rainfall has not been enough for everybody to plant their soybeans, but that is expected to be solved this week with additional rainfall. They are still expecting good yields with enough time to plant the safrinha corn within the correct window. Some areas got up to 3 inches last week and they are planting. Up to this point about a third of the 120,000 hectares have been planted. Farmers expect at least same yields as last year of 67.5 sacks per hectare (60.3 bu/ac). Farmers have sold about 40% of their anticipated 2020/21 production.

Santa Catarina Soybeans - Dry weather is already impacting the summer crops in Santa Catarina. The soybean planting is being delayed, corn that has already been planted is exhibiting moisture stress and some will have to be replanted, and there is not enough water to flood irrigate the newly planted rice. In fact, the problems in the state started last year and thus far in 2020, the state is running 28 inches below the average rainfall according to the Agriculture and Livestock Federation of Santa Catarina (Faesc).

It is not just row crops that have been impacted, livestock producers are also reporting problems. Hog, poultry, and dairy farmers are reporting a lack of pasture/feed for the animals and farmers are having to truck-in water for their livestock operations.