WASHINGTON — In Brazil, the 2018/19 soybean season is around its halfway point. Early harvest of mature beans began for some states a couple weeks ago, while other fields are still setting and filling pods. While the start to the season may have been very favorable, with ample rains allowing for quick planting and good germination for most, conditions since then have taken a turn for the warmer and drier than normal.
In the last couple months, many soybean-growing states received rainfall amounts far below normal, allowing for dryness to spread and begin to impact the crop. Currently, the states of Parana and Mato Grosso do Sul are dealing with the driest of these conditions, but the dry conditions have also spread into eastern Mato Grosso, Goias and Minas Gerais.
Harvest of the crop will continue to pick up as we get further into January. By the end of 2018, the state of Mato Grosso was about 1-2 percent harvested, with progress expected to reach about 5 percent by the end of this week. Early yields from the state have been mostly favorable, although minimal harvesting has occurred in areas impacted by dry conditions. While some scattered rains have fallen in the state recently, it has not been enough to combat the dryness.
Warmer than normal temperatures are expected to persist through the next couple weeks in the state which will cause the crops to mature at a faster-than-expected rate. Over the next 7 days, central and northwestern Mato Grosso have the greatest chance for rain, while southern and eastern parts of the state may only receive spotty showers.
In Parana, some rain finally arrived last week, although the lower amounts fell in the western part of the state where soybeans are grown. Early yields thus far have not been great out of the state, with some isolated fields reporting yields as low as 17 bu/ac (average yield is around 51 bu/ac). The earliest planted and early maturing soybeans were the most heavily impacted by the onset of hot and dry weather, as these crops were entering the critical pod setting and filling stage of development at the time. Over the next 7 days, rains are expected to continue to be somewhat scattered in the state day to day, but overall trend a bit wetter than normal.
The potential for wetter than normal conditions is rather short-lived, though, as drier trends are forecast to move back in during the 8-14 day forecast. Also during the 8-14 day forecast period, temperatures in the state are expected to trend well above normal and possibly the warmest in 28+ years which would amplify the lack of moisture.
Through the remainder of January, long-range guidance shows continued warmer and drier than normal conditions across much of central and south-central Brazil which could have a further detrimental impact on crops. While soybean yields may be negatively impacted by these conditions, harvest will likely record a favorable pace and allow for an earlier start to safrinha corn planting. However, rains will be needed to improve soil moisture in order for there to be favorable conditions for safrinha corn planting.
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