Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest It seems that all the rain that central and northeastern Brazil lacked between October and December is falling now in January. In some areas, it has rained every single day since Jan. 1 and the precipitation anomaly approaches 100%. But for some areas in Mato Grosso, the top Brazilian soybean-growing state, those rains have arrived too late. That’s why AgRural cut its yield estimate again in early January, from 46 to 43.8 bushels per acre. If realized, this average yield will be the lowest for Mato Grosso in 10 years. In some irrigated areas of Bahia and Minas Gerais, where the first areas are already mature for harvest, there are some cases of pod sprouting.Bad for harvest and some mature fields…Those rains have delayed the harvest progress in Mato Grosso. Last Friday, 3.6% of its soybean area was harvested, compared to 7.4% a year ago and 5% on the five-year average. Yields vary from 22 to 36 bushels per acre, but areas planted later have higher potential. Besides the excessive moisture (which has had a decrease from the previous week, but is still high), the erratic planting pace also contributes to the slow harvest progress. In Paraná, the No. 2 producing state, harvest is complete in 2.3% of the area, compared to 5% last year and 2% on the five-year average. Goiás and Mato Grosso do Sul, in central Brazil, have also begun the harvest, but it is still very incipient (0.3% and 0.6%, respectively). In Brazil as a whole, 1.5% of the soybean area is harvest, compared to 3.5% last year and 2% on the five-year average.…but good for the bulk of the cropAlthough holding back the harvest pace in some areas, the constant rains in January have benefited many soybean fields across the country, especially those planted later in Mato Grosso and also in the Northeast states. In the South, the drier and warmer weather inspires some concern, especially in Rio Grande do Sul, where the crops still have a long way to go. But the soils have abundant moisture and there is no real threat to the crop development so far. Also, there is rain in the forecasts.Still above 100 mmt?On Jan 12, the federal crop agency Conab made just a minor adjustment in its soybean production forecast. The Brazilian production fell from 102.5 million tons in December to 102.1 million tons. A 0.8 million ton cut in Mato Grosso was partially offset by upward revisions in other states. Although the crop failure is not going to be as severe as initially expected, it is hard to believe that the Brazilian production will surpass 100 million tons. In early January, AgRural lowered its production estimate from 99.7 million to 98.7 million tons, still a record high. Much can still happen. Soybean yields still depend on weather conditions until March or April, depending on the state.CornSummer cropThe summer corn crop, which was planted from September to December, is in very good shape, since at this time of the year the production is concentrated in the South and in the Southeast, where the weather conditions have been favorable. AgRural projects the production at 27.6 million tons, compared to 30.1 million tons last year. The 8% decrease is due to the smaller planted area. In December, the forecast was at 26.7 million tons.“Safrinha”For the second crop, or “safrinha,” which is planted right after the soybean harvest, AgRural expects a record planted area, with an increase of up to 5%, because the domestic prices are good. Brazilian exports have been very strong, we almost don’t have corn at the spot market right now and the summer crop, which is 5.3% harvested so far, is smaller than a year ago. So, the market is pushing up prices in order to “buy” more acres for corn. Also, many farmers have already sold a significant part of the crop and must plant in order to meet contracts.Corn shortageWith record exports and prices skyrocketing in the cash market, small poultry and pork producers have had a hard time to feed their flocks. Last Friday, the federal crop agency Conab announced that it is going to sell 500 thousand tons out of its 1.476 million ton stocks.DelayThe delay in the soybean crop in some states, especially in Mato Grosso, is a problem, but farmers are likely to plant corn until the end of March, after the ideal window, hoping for an extended rainy season. Planting is 0.8% complete in south-central Brazil, compared to 3% a year ago and also 3% on the three-year average.Total corn productionIf we have favorable weather conditions until May or mid-June, Brazil can produce 82 or 83 million tons, compared to 84.7 million tons last year.