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September 6, 2017

Meteorologist in Brazil warn Farmers to keep Close Watch on Weather

Brazilian farmers will be allowed to start planting their 2017/18 soybeans in a little as 5 days in the state of Parana (soybean planting may start on September 10th), but meteorologists in Brazil are warning farmers not to get too anxious to rush to the fields and start planting soybeans. In the state of Mato Grosso they are allowed to start planting their 2017/18 soybeans on September 15th.

In an interview with Noticias Agricolas, the chief forecaster for Inmet, Morgana Almeida, indicated that farmers need to be cautious with their planting plans in September and October. She if forecasting 1-2 inches of precipitation in southern Brazil by September 20th, but an inch or less of rainfall in Mato Grosso and central Brazil by September 20th. She does not see widespread summer rains falling in Brazil until the end of October.

The meteorological consulting firm Climatempo agrees with Inmet and is forecasting a somewhat slow start to the summer rains in southern, southeastern, and the center-west regions of Brazil. They are also not forecasting any widespread summer rains until the end of October.

Part of reason why they think the start of the summer rains will be delayed is the fact that the waters in the Pacific Ocean are still technically in a neutral position, not an El Nino or a La Nina. A neutral Pacific Ocean can result in a lot of variability in the rainfall especially in southern Brazil during September and October.

This uncertainly poses a dilemma for farmers in southern Brazil who want to plant their soybeans as quickly as possible to get ahead of problems associated with soybean rust and to allow more time for a second crop of corn. September and October can be very hot in Brazil and if farmers plant their soybeans right after the first rains, there is a risk of hot and dry weather for several weeks after planting. If that does occur, it is likely that the soybeans will have to be replanted when the rains become more widespread.

If Brazilian soybeans are planted later than normal, they can still produce a good yield if the weather during the remainder of the growing season is favorable. The biggest impact from a delay in getting the soybeans planted might be on the safrinha corn crop. If the soybeans are planted a month late, then they will be harvested a month late and as a result, the safrinha corn would be planted a month late as well.

While planting the soybeans later than normal may not impact the soybean yields, planting the safrinha corn later than normal could potentially have a big impact on the safrinha corn yields. Additionally, Brazilian farmers continue to plant more of their corn as the safrinha crop. In 2017/18, as much as 70% of Brazil's total corn crop could be produced as the safrinha crop.

If the waters in the Pacific Ocean remain in a state of neutrality through the end of the year, the odds of repeating the record soybean and corn yields of the 2016/17 growing season are slim. The weather during the 2016/17 growing season was nearly ideal and a repeat of those good conditions is not expected in 2017/18.