Brazil’s early soy harvesting hampered by rains – forecaster

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – A cold front which is prompting rains in the
southeast and centre-west of Brazil may delay early soy harvesting work
in the leading grain producing state of Mato Grosso, weather forecaster
Marco Antonio dos Santos said in a Monday report.

Rains should continue throughout the week in the centre of the country,
in some cases bringing harvesting to a complete stop, Santos said. Aside
from hampering initial harvesting work, low sunlight may affect graining
and yields, resulting in smaller beans, he said.

“As some soy fields are ready to be harvested, such wintery conditions
may cause problems to producers,” according to the report from the Rural
Clima weather consultancy, where Santos is a partner.

In some towns, producers have been unable to use harvesters for the past
few days due to continued rain. In others, farmers are able to harvest,
but only for about two or three hours a day.

Higher humidity is also likely to increase the risk of diseases such as
soy rust, the forecaster said.

Because harvesting work is still in its early stages in Mato Grosso,
there is no immediate cause for concern, said Adriano Gomes, an analyst
at AgRural. But this could change if such conditions persist through the
end of January and early February. There have been reports of soy rust
in certain parts of Brazil, he said.

The data underscores the effects of the La Niña phenomenon, which causes
periods of below-average sea surface temperatures across the
east-central Equatorial Pacific.

The effects of La Niña are being felt this January, with the absence of
regular rains in the south and a lot of rain in the center and the north
of Brazil, the forecaster said.

However, it is not possible to ascertain that La Niña will cause crop
damage.

“We have yet to see a classic la Niña forming, such as in the 2010/11
and 2011/12 crop periods,” he said. Full-blown La Ninã would mean a
drought in the south of South America, and that is not what the
forecaster predicts.

“There is no time for La Niña to form in the characteristic way,” he
said.

Next week, rains should return to the south of Brazil while showers, and
not continued rains, are expected in central Brazil, Santos said.

In the Matopiba agriculture frontier in the north, the weather will stay
clear and mostly dry this week. In the south of Brazil, there are no
forecasts of rains during this week, according to the report.

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