Nov 05, 2023

Harvesting of the 2023/24 Soybeans in Brazil Started Last Week

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

The initial 2023/24 soybean harvest started last week in Brazil, which is a month earlier than in previous years. In the municipality of Ipiranga do Norte in north-central Mato Grosso, some farmers started to harvest their early maturing soybeans last week. Early yields are reported in the range of 30 to 35 sacks per hectare (26.8 to 31.2 bu/ac). The overall yields of these early planted soybeans are expected to range from 0 to 35 bu/ac depending on the rainfall.

Soybeans currently being harvested were planted on September 1st, which is two weeks earlier than the traditional starting date of September 16th. The farmers harvesting soybeans are cotton producers who as members of the Cotton Producers Association of Mato Grosso (Ampa), petitioned the Brazilian Minister of Agriculture to move up the planting of soybeans to allow more time to plant a second crop of safrinha cotton.

The amount of soybeans being harvested in Mato Grosso is very small because only a small number of producers were given permission to plant their soybeans on September 1st. The soybeans planted on September 16th and beyond will start to be harvested probably between Christmas and New Year's Day.

Hot and dry weather during October and early November negatively impacted the soybean development and accelerated crop maturity. Erratic rainfall has also led to a wide range of crop conditions with some soybeans rated excellent and others nearby rated very poor. It all depends on the rainfall distribution.

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 crop was planted after that date. Embrapa and the Soybean and Corn Producers Association of Mato Grosso (Aprosoja/MT) opposed the early start because the soybeans would be planted while the soybean-free period is still in effect.

An additional incentive to plant their cotton early this growing season is the fact that during El Nino years, the summer rainy season can end earlier than normal. With lower yields expected for their soybeans, cotton producers in the region are pinning their hopes on an improved cotton crop.

Planting and harvesting soybeans at the same time - It is very unusual for farmers in Brazil to be planting and harvesting soybeans at the same time. That is happening this growing season because of the delayed soybean planting and permission for a few farmers in Mato Grosso to plant their soybeans on September 1st.

Soybean harvest in Brazil is going to be extended this growing season - With over 15% of the soybeans left to plant in Brazil, the soybean harvest could extend until mid-March 2024.

Longer period of time exposed to soybean rust - The latest planted soybeans are going to have a higher risk of being infected with soybean rust, which gets worse as the growing season progresses (see article at the end of this report).

Earliest harvested soybeans will go to crushers - The first few harvested soybeans in Brazil will probably go to crushers since they are willing to pay premiums to get their operations up and running.

Brazilian soybean exports will probably ramp up slower than average - The initial soybean exports from Brazil will probably start at about the same time as always, but the ramping up of the exports may be delayed due to the delayed planting of many of the soybeans.