Dec 22, 2021

Dryness Impacting 2021/22 Soybean Crop in Southern Brazil

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

The Brazilian soybean estimate was lowered due to expanding dryness in southern Brazil. In the state of Parana for example, the soybeans are in the critical pod filling phase and there are reports of flowers and pods being aborted. If the forecast for hot and dry weather in southern Brazil verifies, there may be additional reductions in the Brazilian soybean estimate.

The weather in Brazil continues to be a tale of two halves - the wet half and the dry half. Central and northern production areas of Brazil continue to receive good rains and there are more rains in the forecast. Some areas are receiving too much rain and farmers would like to see less rain and more sunshine. They are concerned that the wet conditions could led to increased disease pressure that may take the top-end off the yields. I think a bigger concern for these areas in northern Brazil would be if this wet pattern persists into January when the soybean harvest will start.

In southern Brazil the rains last week were light and scattered and disappointing, certainly not enough to change the current situation. The forecast for the next two weeks does not look much better with generally dry conditions and hotter temperatures. A lot of areas in southern Brazil started to turn dryer in late October and it continues to get worse.

Mato Grosso - The conditions in Mato Grosso continue to be beneficial for the soybean crop. Some early maturing soybeans may start to be harvested before the end of December and the early yields out of Mato Grosso are going to be very good.

Parana - The problems for Brazil's soybeans are from Parana southward to Rio Grande do Sul. The Department of Rural Economics (Deral) reported earlier last week that the soybeans in Parana were 38% in vegetative development, 46% flowering, and 16% filling pods. The soybeans were rated 6% poor, 23% average, and 71% good. The percentage of the crop rated good is down 12% compared to the prior week.

Soybeans are short, slow growing, they have not closed the rows which exposes the soil to increased evaporation under the hot temperatures.

The soybean crop in Parana is advanced compared to last year, so this is the critical time for soybean yields and the crop can't wait a couple weeks for rain. Simepar is reporting that in the municipality of Toledo located in western Parana, they are critically short on soil moisture and the earlier planted soybeans are starting to abort flowers and pods. Unfortunately, the forecast for western Parana is for sparce rain and poorly distributed rain until the end of December with temperatures in the mid to upper 90's.

The soybean crop development has stalled and if these adverse conditions persist for another two weeks or so, there will be little chance for the crop to recuperate. Some of the later planted soybeans could still recuperate if they received a good soaking rain within the next two weeks, but that is not in the forecast. In some of the dryer areas, farmers already fear losses of 50%, but the full extent of losses will not be known until sometime in January.

Later in this report are a series of pictures taken last week in eastern Paraguay, which is right across the Parana River from western Parana. The pictures from Paraguay are an accurate depiction of the situation in western Parana.

Rio Grande do Sul- The soybeans in Rio Grande do Sul are 88% planted compared to 89% last year and 92% average. This represents an advance of only 3% for the week. Many of the soybeans in the state will have to be replanted due to poor germination. In some of the driest parts of the state, farmers have only planted approximately 10% of their anticipated soybeans and they will not resume planting until they receive additional moisture.

Approximately 97% of the soybeans are germinating and in vegetative development and 3% are flowering. The soybean crop development in the state has slowed due to the dry conditions. The soybeans in the state could still recuperate if rains would return in short order, but unfortunately, that is not in the forecast.

The ideal planting window for soybeans in Rio Grande do Sul has passed and farmers who intend to replant their soybeans need to plant them by December 31st in order to qualify for crop insurance. Agricultural groups in the state have already petitioned the federal government to extend the planting date for soybeans to continue qualifying for crop insurance.

Northeastern Brazil - Northeastern Brazil continues to receive abundant rainfall; in fact, they are receiving too much rain in some areas and farmers are concerned about the lack of sunshine. In the areas of heaviest rainfall, some of the soybeans have drowned out and will need to be replanted once it dries out. There is still time to plant soybeans in northeastern Brazil which traditionally has some of the latest planted soybeans in Brazil. The soybean harvest will start during the first half of February and farmers are hoping that the rainfall will start to tapper off before the harvest begins.