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November 18, 2020

2020/21 Brazil Soybeans 70% Planted, Dry Worries in S. Brazil

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

The weather in Brazil has improved somewhat, but it is still not a typical start to the summer rainy season. Thus far, the rains have been hit and miss and not the widespread type of rains that are normal for this time of the year. In Mato Grosso for example, the state has received 20% to 40% of its normal rainfall over the last two months.

Weekend rains favored more northern and eastern areas. Much of Brazil is expected to get rains this week with the exception of Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil. In the 6-10 day forecast the rainfall is more limited to northern areas, which will lead to more dryness concerns in southern Brazil.

The 2020/21 Brazilian soybean crop was 70% planted late last week compared to 67% last year and 69% average. This represents an advance of 14% for the week. AgRural reported that 300,000 hectares of soybeans will have to be replanted due to poor plant populations (740,000 acres). The first half of the soybeans were planted up to 30 days later than normal while the second half of the soybeans will be planted about on time.

In spite of the delayed planting, Brazilian soybean yields could still be OK if the weather cooperates going forward. The weather thus far has been less than cooperative with dryer than normal conditions in the three largest producing states of Mato Grosso, Parana, and Rio Grande do Sul. Of the three, Rio Grande do Sul is the driest. What concerns me about soybeans is the potential for periods of dryness during December and January especially in southern Brazil when the crop is filling pods.

While the Brazilian soybean yield is yet to be determined, there are two things about the 2020/21 Brazilian soybean crop that we already know for sure. The soybean harvest is going to start later than normal and that is going to delay the start of the soybean export season. The soybean harvest probably won't really ramp up until late January or early February. As a result, I don't think there will be multiple vessels with new crop soybeans leaving Brazil until about mid-February, which will be at least two weeks later than last year.

Another thing we know for sure is that the safrinha corn is going to be planted later than desired and a significant percentage of the crop is going to be planted after the ideal planting window closes about the third week of February.

Mato Grosso Soybeans - The soybeans in Mato Grosso were 94% planted as of late last week compared to 7% last year and 92% average according to the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea). This represents an advance of 10.8% for the week. The first half of the crop was planted late which is important because it's the first half of the soybeans that are followed by a second crop of corn or cotton.

Municipality of Tapurah - In the municipality of Tapurah, which is located in central Mato Grosso, dry weather slowed the soybean planting and has resulted in poor plant populations and shorter than normal plants. The safrinha corn will be planted later than normal in February and into early March. The soybean harvest and safrinha corn planting will be compressed into a narrow window in February and early March.

Municipality of Campos de Julio - In the municipality of Campos de Julio, which is located in western Mato Grosso, some areas of the municipality are doing fine while other areas have poor soybean stands that will need to be replanted. Rain will be needed soon in order to avoid further losses. Some farmers are worried that will not be able to fulfill contracts for delivery of soybeans in January and February. As a result, they are already trying to renegotiate their contracts with the grain companies. The safrinha corn acreage in the municipality may end up being lower than anticipated due to late soybean planting.

Parana Soybeans - The soybeans in Parana were 84% planted as of earlier last week with 28% of the crop germinating, 71% in vegetative development, and 1% flowering according to the Department of Rural Economics (Deral). The soybeans are rated 2% poor, 23% average, and 75% good.

Rio Grande do Sul Soybeans - The soybeans in the state were 32% planted last week, which is slightly ahead of the average of 31%. There are reports of farmers in the state replanting their soybean planting while they wait for additional rainfall.