Aug 21, 2023

Early Soybean Planting on September 1st Authorized in Mato Grosso

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

The Cotton Producers Association of Mato Grosso (Ampa) asked for permission from the Minister of Agriculture to start planting soybeans in Mato Grosso on September 1st instead of the official start date of September 16th. Late last week, the Brazilian Minister of Agriculture, Carlos Favaro, granted permission to start planting soybeans in Mato Grosso on September 1st.

The Soybean and Corn Producers Association of Mato Grosso (Aprosoja/MT) opposed the petition because the soybeans would be planted while the soybean-free period is still in effect. Aprosoja stated that planting soybeans early increases the risk of soybean rust disease moving into the state's soybean fields earlier than normal.

Aprosoja/MT contends that there was no scientific justification given for the early planting decision and that Embrapa was not consulted. Embrapa was the driving force behind establishing the soybean-free program nearly two decades ago and it has been credited for reducing the impact of the disease in the state.

It appears that cotton producers wanted to move up soybean plating to allow more time to plant a second crop of safrinha cotton. The ideal planting window for safrinha cotton closes about the end of January and during the 2022/23 growing season, a significant percentage of the cotton was planted after that date. Mato Grosso may still be in the annual dry season on September 1st, but many of the cotton growers have irrigation capabilities so they would not need to wait for rain to start plating their cotton.

The president of Aprosoja argues that accommodating the smaller cotton crop could hurt the larger soybean crop. Soybeans account for 50% of the gross receipts from agriculture in the state and cotton accounts for 12%. There are 12 million hectares of soybeans in the state and 1.2 million hectares of cotton.

This planting date change means that soybeans from Mato Grosso could start reaching the market two weeks earlier than in previous years.