May 15, 2023

Brazilian Farmers Planting Soybeans in the State of Roraima

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

Not all the soybeans produced in Brazil are grown in the Southern Hemisphere. Farmers in Brazil northernmost state of Roraima, which lies north of the Equator and borders Venezuela, are currently planting their 2023 soybeans. The soybean growing season in the state is similar to that of the United States - plant in April/May and harvest in August/September.

According to the president of Aprosoja/RO, farmers in the state had planted approximately 35% of their soybeans by the middle of last week. They are actively planting their soybeans and they would like to finish planting by May 20th, which is the end of the ideal planting window.

With the transition from La Nina to El Nino, farmers are concerned that the rains may end by August exposing the later planted soybeans to dry weather during pod filling. That is why farmers in the state usually plant early maturing soybean varieties.

The soybean acreage in the state is expected to increase 20% this year to 123,000 hectares (304,000 acres) compared to 102,000 hectares last year (252,000 acres).

The cost of producing soybeans in the state is in the range of R$ 5,000 to R$ 6,000 per hectare (approximately $405 to $480 per acre). In established areas, soybean yields need to be in the range of 60 sacks per hectare (53.6 bu/ac) to make a profit. In areas that were put into soybeans for the first time, the cost of production is about R$ 7,500 per hectare (approximately $600 per acre). The cost is higher in the first year due to land clearing costs and increased use of fertilizers.

If soybean yields are very high the first year, farmers might break even. If yields are disappointing the first year, they will probably lose money. The soybeans in Roraima are produced in the cerrado regions of the state and farmers are attracted to the state due to the low cost of land, which recently averaged $641 per acre. Roraima has a small soybean production base, but it continues to increase every year.