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January 8, 2021

January Critical for Brazilian Soybeans, Some Areas Need Rain

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

The 2020/21 soybean planting in Brazil is mostly complete with just a few soybeans left to plant in far southern Brazil and in northeastern Brazil. In fact, a few isolated fields of early maturing soybeans in western Mato Grosso have already been harvested. The soybeans in general were planted later than normal and the weather during January will be critical for the crop because many of the soybeans will be filling pods during the month.

After a dry start to the growing season, rainfall amounts have improved in much of Brazil, but there are still areas where the soil moisture is below what is needed for adequate crop growth.

The areas most in need of additional rainfall include parts of southern Brazil, the center-west region of Brazil, and in northeastern Brazil.

According to Paulo Sentelhas of Agrymet, areas of central Mato Grosso do Sul, southwest Mato Grosso, and south-central Rio Grande do Sul are areas that have soil moisture less than 40% of the maximum possible. Soil moisture shortages such as these can limit plant growth and result in lower yield potential.

In parts of northeastern Brazil, the soil moisture is even dryer. In southern Maranhao and western Piaui, the soil moisture is only 20% to 40% of the maximum possible. At these low levels, the plant growth is limited and the productivity can be compromised due to fewer seeds per pod and smaller seed size.

The forecast is calling for increased chances of rainfall in Brazil as the month progresses, so the soil moisture situation should improve with increased rainfall, but the timing of the rain will be important as well as the stage of development of the soybeans.