Sep 14, 2023

Dryness Could Delay Start of 2023/24 Soy Planting in Mato Grosso

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

Farmers in Mato Grosso, which is Brazil's largest soybean producing state, are poised to start planting their 2023/24 soybeans as soon as the soil moisture is adequate to ensure germination and stand establishment.

Central Brazil has been in its annual dry season for the last four months and there are only limited chances of rain near term. The forecast for the next 15 days shows below normal rainfall across most of Brazil except for far southern Brazil. Temperatures will be above normal in most areas with highs reaching 100-105°F in Mato Grosso, Goias, northern Mato Grosso do Sul, Tocantins, and northwestern Parana.

High temperatures are common this time of the year in central Brazil because September can be the hottest month of the year. Once the summer rainy season starts generally toward the end of September, temperatures decline, but remain hot.

The current hot and dry conditions could lead to a delayed start for soybean planting across central Brazil. Farmers generally like to receive 1-2 inches of precipitation before they plant their soybeans. A worst-case scenario for farmers would be to plant their soybeans after the first rain only to see the second rain delayed for several weeks. The soybeans would germinate and then quickly die due to a return of hot and dry conditions. The farmers would then need to replant at additional costs.

Delayed soybean planting in central Brazil does not necessarily result in lower soybean yields. If the weather during the remainder of the growing season is beneficial, late planted soybeans can still achieve normal yields.

A bigger problem resulting from delayed soybean planting is the potential for delayed planting of the safrinha corn crop. All the safrinha corn in central Brazil is planted after the soybeans are harvested and the ideal planting window for safrinha corn closes about the third week of February.

Planting after that date can result in lower yields especially when an El Nino is present because the summer rains can end earlier than normal. Generally, the last summer rain in Mato Grosso occurs in early May, but when an El Nino is present, the rains can end by late March or early April, which is the important reproductive period for corn.