March 20, 2018

TellusLabs Weekly Commentary – March 20, 2018

Prepared by: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

Argentina Soybeans - There were some rains over the weekend in heart of the production area.  The amounts were in the range of 1-2 inches, but the coverage was confined to generally southeastern Cordoba, far southern Santa Fe, and northern Buenos Aires.  Where they fell, the rains did help the crops, but the coverage was probably not widespread enough to change the overall dry pattern for the country. In addition, the rains were too late for the early maturing soybeans.

Before the rains over this past weekend, the overall soybean crop in Argentina was rated approximately 80% poor to very poor and 88% short to very short on soil moisture.  The early planted soybeans are 28% mature and approximately 2% harvested. Early yields are highly variable as you would expect. In some parts of Cordoba, early yields are in the range of 2,000 to 2,400 kg/ha (29 to 35 bu/ac) compared to last year’s yields of 4,000 to 4,500 kg/ha (58 to 65 bu/ac).

The later planted soybeans are faring worse than the early soybeans, so the weekend rains were beneficial for the later planted soybeans where they fell.  The later planted soybeans are 15% filling pods, so any additional rains will help the crop.

The governors of the provinces Cordoba, Santa Fe and Buenos Aires met recently at an agricultural fair to coordinate their responses to the drought.  They are planning to request an emergency deceleration from the federal government for all three provinces due to the ongoing drought.

Argentina Corn - Some rain did fall across a narrow band in the core production area, but I do not think it was enough to change the overall weather pattern, at least for now.

Before the rains over this past weekend, the overall corn crop in Argentina was rated approximately 75% poor to very poor and 87% short to very short on soil moisture.  The early planted corn is 58% mature and 8% harvested. Any rain at this point will not help the early planted corn which is approximately 40% of Argentina’s corn crop this year.

The later planted corn (approximately 60% of the total corn crop) is in worse condition than the early corn with 86% of the crop rated poor to very poor and 96% rated short to very short on soil moisture.  The later planted corn is now 20% filling grain. Some of the latest planted corn could probably be helped a little by additional rainfall, but any additional rainfall needs to occur within the next 2-3 weeks.

Brazil Soybeans – The soybeans in the state of Rio Grande do Sul received some very welcomed rains this past weekend.  The rains were very timely for the later developing soybeans in the northern part of the state where over 80% of the soybeans are produced.  The southern half of the state received some rain as well, but they came very late since the region has been in a severe drought for nearly the entire growing season.  The rains in the northern part of the state are expected to help the crop compensate for the loses in the southern half of the state.

According to AgRural, the Brazilian soybean crop is now 58% harvested compared to 62% last year.  This represents and advance of 10 points for the week. Mato Grosso leads the way with 91% harvested followed by Mato Grosso do Sul with 86%, Goias with 81%, and Parana with 69%.  In Rio Grande do Sul, the crop is 2% harvested and the state received very timely rains earlier last week for the later maturing soybeans.

In northeastern Brazil the soybean harvest is 15 to 20% complete.  Farmers in northeastern Brazil (Bahia, Tocantins, Maranhao, and Piaui) are expecting to harvest another record high soybean crop.  The rainfall this growing season has been very good and very well distributed. They are now hoping that the rains will decrease as the harvest pace picks up.

Farmers in Mato Grosso have sold 61% of their 2017/18 soybean production compared to 63% last year and 71% for the 5-year average.  As you would expect, the selling pace has been increasing over the last few weeks due to improved prices and a weaker Brazilian currency.  The Brazilian currency is currently trading in the range of 3.30 reals per U.S. dollar.

Brazil Corn - The full-season corn in Brazil is 34% harvested compared to 47% last year and 45% for the 5-year average.  This represents an advance of 7% for the week.

Safrinha corn planting is now 92% complete compared to 96% last year and 90% for the 5-year average according to AgRural.  This represents an advance of 11 points for the week. Mato Grosso leads the way with 98.8% planted. The condition of the safrinha corn in Mato Grosso is rated good because of the timely rains thus far.  The earliest corn planted in Mato Grosso will start to pollinate probably within the next two weeks. Farmers in Mato Grosso have sold 37% of the anticipated 2017/18 corn production which is very similar to last year and the 5-year average.

In Parana, the safrinha corn planting is 94% complete with Minas Gerais at 95%, Mato Grosso do Sul at 76%, and Goias at 85% planted.

Meteorologists in Parana are already warning farmers that their late planted safrinha corn runs an increased risk of potential frost damage before the crop is mature.  They are warning that the frost risk will start by the end of May and increase in June and July. They anticipate the greatest risk from frost will be in western Parana and southern Mato Grosso do Sul where it is not uncommon to experience a frost by the end of May.  Corn planted in early March in Parana would pollinate about mid-May and mature about mid-July.

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