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Brazil’s wacky 2018-19 weather to pare yields

Analysts keep shaving South American soybean production estimates.

At least they don’t have a polar vortex to worry about right now.

Despite all you may have read about Brazilian agencies and other observers repeatedly cutting estimates for 2018-19 soybean production, Felipe Okimura is proof that not all producers are facing the same challenges right now.

Okimura, a third-generation producer from the eastern portion of Parana State, puts his university degrees to use on the family farm—mainly when it comes time to pencil out inputs decisions or to sell the crop.

“We farm in the Londrina area,” he says, “where there haven’t been any crop losses (with the dry weather.) To the contrary, we’re optimistic. But that’s not been the rule for the rest of the state.

“There are reports of some places of crops with yields as low as 18 bushels per acre.”

Around the neighborhood

Meanwhile, one observer in Paraguay is estimating yield losses of 15% nationwide due to lack of rain. But at the same time, Argentine and Uruguayan farmers have been dealing with flooded fields recently, and Brazil’s southerly state of Rio Grande do Sul would likely love to send some of the rain from their flooded fields up to the dry zones in the North.

The situation has kept producers from getting field work done, and it’s serious enough that Brazilian Ag Minister Tereza Cristina overflew the area to have a look for herself and to at least show support.

Rio Grande do Sul state ag officials say 18% of their soy crop is typically produced in low-lying areas and creek bottoms, which are hurting the most.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another between drought and flood. Sure, production will be down in plenty of places, and that’s really hurting the folks suffering from it. However, there are enough farmers whose situation looks more like that of Felipe Okimura that, despite news of weather problems, Brazil’s 2018-19 bean crop probably won’t end up a total bust.

 The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.

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