Jun. 8, 2018
By Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.
The annual soybean-free period will once again take effect next week in the state of Mato Grosso as well as other soybean producing states in central Brazil. From June 15th until September 15th, no live soybean plants will be permitted in the state. This includes voluntary soybeans that may have germinated in the field, along the roadways, or around storage or transportation facilities.
The goal of the soybean-free program, which was instituted in 2006, is to eliminate the favorite hose plant for the soybean rust disease. Soybean rust spores are viable for about 60 days without a host plant, so by eliminating live soybean plants, the hope is that fewer spores will be able to survive from one growing season to the next.
During the 2017/18 growing season, the state of Mato Grosso registered 11,787 farms that planted soybeans on 7.9 million hectares. The state's department of Plant and Animal Sanitization will send out teams of inspectors all across the state looking for live soybean plants. If live soybean plants are found, the landowner will be notified and give 10 days to eliminate the plants. If the plants are not eliminated, the landowner could face hefty fines.
Scientists attribute the soybean-free program as one of the initiatives that has helped to control soybean rust in recent years. The number of confirmed cases of soybean rust in Mato Grosso has been relative small given that Mato Grosso is the largest soybean producing state in Brazil. Farmers in Mato Grosso are generally the first to plant their soybeans and the first to harvest their soybeans in Brazil. This allows many of the soybeans to get ahead of rust infestations which increases as the growing season progresses.
In recent years, the number of confirmed cases of soybean rust has generally been higher in southern Brazil where the soybeans are planted later and harvested later.