Sep 27, 2019

Farmers in Western Mato Grosso are Anxious to Plant Soybeans

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

In the municipality of Sapezal, which is located in western Mato Grosso, farmers have been increasing the amount of second crop cotton they plant after they harvest their first crop of soybeans. They have been switching safrinha corn over to cotton in recent years due to the higher profit potential from cotton. Mato Grosso is Brazil's largest cotton producing state and during the 2018/19 growing season, farmers in Mato Grosso planted a record amount of second crop cotton.

The ideal planting window for safrinha cotton in western Mato Grosso is quite narrow and farmers would like to have all their cotton planted by the end of January. Cotton is a high reward crop, but it is also an expensive crop to produce. Therefore, farmers want to make sure their cotton is planted as early as possible in order to maximize the yield potential. In order to achieve that goal, they need to plant their first crop of soybeans as soon as possible after the "soybean free" period ends on September 15th.

Soybean planting was liberated in Mato Grosso starting September 16th, but thus far, there has not been enough rainfall to insure soybean germination and stand establishment. There have been some rains in the region over the last few days, but it remains to be seen if they were heavy enough to replenish the soil moisture. Some farmers in the Sapezal region have decided to take the risk of planting their soybeans before the forecasted rains actually materialized. This is a risky practice because if the rains end up being disappointing, the soybeans may germinate, but then not have enough soil moisture to get established. When that happens, the soybeans may have to be replanted.

Generally, only the farmers who are planning on planting a second crop of cotton are willing to take the risk. If they are planning to plant a second crop of corn, they can afford to wait a little longer to plant their soybeans because the corn planting window is more forgiving. Farmers in the region would like to have their safrinha corn planted by the about the third week of February.

During the 2018/19 growing season, farmers in the region started planting their soybeans on September 16th and they ended up having a good soybean crop and a good cotton crop as well.

The summer rains generally start earlier in western Mato Grosso and work their way east. As a result, it is more likely that soybean will be planted earlier in western Mato Grosso than in eastern Mato Grosso, which allows more time for a second crop of cotton.