December 31, 2011

Drought harms soy in Brazil's top 2 state



Dry weather has brought about major damage in the growing soy crop in Brazil's second biggest soy producing state, Parana, the state's association of cooperatives Ocepar said on Thursday (Dec 29).


About two thirds of Parana's soy crop is in the driest areas of the state, said Ocepar's technical manager, Flavio Turra, adding that it was too early to quantify losses.


"We estimate that 30% of these two thirds are in the most susceptible development stages for weather-related losses (flowering and pod filling)," said Turra.


Parana's soy output this season was estimated at 14 million tonnes by the state's government, below last season's record output of 15.3 million tonnes, when yields were the highest ever.


But the actual crop could be lower than that since the forecast was released before a drier-than-usual December.


The state's corn crop was put at 7.4 million tonnes, compared with 6.1 million tonnes in 2010/11 as planted area rose about 20%. But this also could be revised downward in the next forecast, to be released in January.


But the western portion of Parana, an important grain producing area, should receive widespread rains in the next few days, according to Somar meteorologists.


The government has estimated the 2011/12 soy crop now planted would be 5.4% smaller than last year's record output, at 71.29 million tonnes.


The fear of crop losses related to dry weather in Brazil and in Argentina has been a key driver behind a rise in Chicago grains futures.


The grain market's concerns are also fixed on Brazil's far southern state of Rio Grande do Sul which has had a very dry December, with up to 76% less rain than usual for December while other parts of the state fared better.


The state's agriculture technical assistance organ, Emater, says it is still too early to speak of any kind of losses in the state as there was still time for rain to return and save the crop, which is planted later than many other states.


"There are no losses of any kind," said Dulphe Pinheiro Machado, a manager at the Rio Grande do Sul branch of Emater.


Corn on the other hand has suffered much more than the oilseed with significant losses reported Machado said, though she could not offer an estimate.


Some producers are thinking about planting soy in areas where corn crops have been lost though the ideal period to do this is almost at an end and therefore farmers who risk the expense of re-seeding would be left without insurance cover.

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