-By Dr. Michael Cordonnier
The 2016/17 Brazilian soybean crop is approximately 90% planted compared to 88% last year and 85% average. The last major state where there are soybeans left to plant is Rio Grande do Sul where the planting is approximately 75% complete.
There was somewhat of a reversal in the weather last week in Brazil. The weather in central and northeastern Brazil turned dryer after being quite wet during the previous several weeks, while the weather in southern Brazil turned wetter after being dryer the previous several weeks. In the end, these patterns probably offset each other and it was generally a good week of weather in Brazil last week.
I think the most important aspect of the weather last week were the rains in southern Brazil. The coverage and the amounts were better in the state of Parana and not as good in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. Where they fell, these rains did help to recharge the soil moisture, but there are still dry pockets especially in Rio Grande do Sul and Mato Grosso do Sul.
The forecast for this week looks good across the central regions of Brazil including Mato Grosso, Goias, northern Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, and northeastern Brazil. The forecast is for dryer weather in southern Brazil especially in Rio Grande do Sul and that has some farmers worried.
I think you could make a case for increasing the Brazilian soybean estimate 1-2 million tons due to good conditions in central Brazil and northeastern Brazil as well as reduced pockets of dryness in southern Brazil. The case could also be made for leaving the estimate unchanged due to dryness in southern Mato Grosso do Sul and the forecast for dryer than normal weather over the next several months in Rio Grande do Sul.
Either way, I think the bottom line is that there are not any "weather game changers" on the horizon in Brazil. A change in the Brazilian weather might tweak the soybean crop a little here and there, but no significant changes are expected in the near term.
Brazilian Corn - The full-season corn crop in southern Brazil benefited from the recent rains although they were probably not heavy or widespread enough to completely recharge the soil moisture, but they were good enough for now. Up until this past weekend, there were pockets in southern Brazil that had gone up to 30 days without rain.
Most of the full-season corn in southern Brazil is in vegetative development with the most advanced corn already filling grain. The full-season corn is generally rated in good to very good condition with a few pockets of dryness in southern Brazil. In Parana for example, 94% of the full-season corn is rated in good condition with 6% rated average. The full-season corn in Parana is 68% in vegetative development, 28% pollinating, and 4% filling grain.
If the weather cooperates in January and it doesn't get too wet, the soybeans will be harvested early and the safrinha corn will be planted early as well. The one concern I have for the safrinha corn is the fact that the domestic corn prices are declining and they are expected to continue declining going forward. Therefore, the domestic price for corn will not be as good going forward as it has been in the recent past, and the declining price could led to farmers putting less inputs into the safrinha crop.
The safrinha corn in the state of Goias was probably the most impacted by dry weather last growing season. Instead of a 100 sacks per hectare of corn (92.4 bu/ac), some farmers only harvested 10 sacks per hectare (9.2 bu/ac). As a result, farmers are going to be more careful in how they invest in the next safrinha corn crop. There are reports that farmers will apply 80% of their normal fertilizers, which is the minimum needed for good yields, but not outstanding yields.