he Brazilian soybean harvest started timidly in some areas of top producer Mato Grosso state, especially on farms where growers risked planting it earlier to cultivate cotton afterwards, inside a favorable climate window.
According to local farmers, harvesting work is behind last year’s pace due to scarce rainfall earlier in the season.
“Producers [harvesting now] sowed soybeans in mid-September, in the dust, when the first rains came,” said Bartolomeu Braz, president of grain grower group Aprosoja. “Their interest is not in the first crop, it is in the second crop.”
Brazil’s Amaggi farming group already started collecting beans in the Sapezal region, according to a company representative, who said that 31,400 hectares were sown in the Tucunaré farm, where harvesters are already plucking the plants. Fazenda Água Quente, also owned by Amaggi, will start harvesting on Tuesday.
Irregular rains pose a threat to Brazil’s soy yields and output this season, but it is not too late for farmers who sowed seeds later in the season. “Rain is essential in January and February as it will determine the productivity of crop,” Aprosoja’s Braz said.
Eder Bueno, a farmer in Ipiranga do Norte, said he had expected to start harvesting by Jan. 10, but work got delayed until at least Jan 25. Because of scarce rains, there was not enough water to fill in the beans, with losses likely in some regions, he said.
Mato Grosso state had collected 25% of the planted soybean area through the end of January in the last year, but that will not be repeated this season.
“This year there will be harvesting delays,” said Endrigo Dalcin, a farmer in the east of Mato Grosso. “Our yields will fall from levels seen last year.”