Farmers in Brazil’s second-ranked soybean growing state have accelerated sowings, although at a risk to yield prospects, with early crop ratings coming in below typical levels.
Parana growers had planted 175,000 hectares of soybeans as of Monday, overnight data from state farm department Deral showed - an increase of nearly 154,000 hectares in a week.
While that pace of sowings, equivalent to 3% completion, remains well behind the 18% achieved a year before, 2018 witnessed an unusually rapid start to seedings.
As of this period of 2017, farmers had planted 1% of their soybeans, with the 2016 figure at 3%.
However, in terms of crop condition, this year’s soybean crop has made a below-par start, with Deral, in its first ratings, pegging 60% in “good” condition, with the balance rated “average”.
That compares with 100% “good” figures for 2018 and 2016, with the 2017 rating at 82%, again with the balance seen as “average”.
The slow start - while on only a small proportion of the 5.49m hectares of soybeans Deral sees being planted in the state, in line with last season’s total – comes amid continued dryness.
Weather service Maxar cautioned of “declining moisture across southern Brazil”, although some rains are in the forecast for late next week.
‘Waiting for better conditions’
The Deral data follow statistics from research institute Imea showing that plantings have got off to a slow start too in the top growing state of Mato Grosso.
Imea said that 0.28% of the 9.72m hectares of soybeans expected for 2019-20 had been seeded as of Friday, equivalent to 27,000 hectares, a figure it said was below average, and compared with some 79,600 hectares a year before.
“At the moment, most producers are waiting for better conditions to start the field work, as delays in precipitation can hinder the germination and development of the oilseed,” Imea said, highlighting too rising costs of production which had injected “caution” into farmer sowings decisions.
The institute estimates Mato Grosso soybean production costs up 7.6% year on year, spurred by a 23% jump in fertilizer spending.