AgRural: South American Harvest Starting Slowly But Large Yields Coming

The harvest in Brazil was just beginning to get going last week. Danielle Siqueira, a market analyst with AgRural in Brazil, talks about the minimal harvest results.

“We have here for Brazil, 1.8 percent of our area had been harvested in Brazil. It’s still below last year. Last year it was 4.7 percent, and the five-year average was 2.8, so we are a little late, but there’s nothing very worrisome, so far.”

She says the reasons behind the slow start vary among the different states.

“If we take a look at Mato Grosso, which is our top producer, it’s moisture. It’s just excessive moisture. Every year, It rains a lot in January. If we have a normal year, January is very rainy, but they have intervals between rains when it’s very hot, and there’s lots of sunshine. So, farmers are able, for example, let’s say it rains during the night, and then, in the morning, it’s sunny and it’s hot. They are able to harvest in the morning already because it dries up very, very quickly.”

Siqueira says they can’t seem to get that consistent sunshine that helps dry out the soybeans enough for harvest. While some states are too wet, others are still too dry.

“Rio Grande do Sul has problems because it has been dry, and it has been hot. It’s not as serious as in Argentina, not at all, and it’s not as serious as the situation we had last year when we had a big crop failure here in south Brazil. So, it’s not that bad. But yes, we already had some losses in Rio Grande do Sul. To give you an example, last week, we had a new production estimate, and for Brazil, we have 152.9 million metric tons. It’s a big crop, our best crop ever, but in Rio Grande do Sul, we had to cut 1.1 million metric tons because of these dry and hot conditions.”

While AgRural primarily deals with Brazil, she does have sources in Argentina that say it’s been a rough season.

“Argentina is still planting soybeans and corn. They have about nine percent of their area of corn covered so far and 95 percent of their soybean area is planted. So, what this crop has faced is described as very complicated, because even before the planting season which started in September, Argentina was already facing very dry conditions, so they have a longer-term drought. And during the crop season, they have had below-normal rains systematically, and now in January, they have had very high temperatures. So even when we get some rain, it’s so hot and soil is so dry that they stay in need of rain all the time.”

AgRural recently cut its soybean crop estimate by 700,000 metric tons to 152.9 million metric tons. The consulting firm lowered its corn crop estimate by 400,000 metric tons to 123.9 million metric tons. Despite the cuts, both crops would still be all-time record yields.

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