Brazil 2017/18 soy planting seen delayed due to climate factors

FILE PHOTO: A tow truck helps to remove a soy truck after it crashed and dumped some 30 tons of soybean crops, along Brazilian Federal highway BR-163, near to the city of Sorriso, in the central state of Mato Grosso, Brazil, March 18, 2004. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Weather forecasts suggest soybean planting in key regions of Brazil may be delayed due to scarce rains following the end of the fallowing period in states like Paraná, Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul.

The absence of rains over the next 10 days in these three regions, where about 51 percent of Brazil’s soybeans are grown, will push back planting this year in relation to last, Marco Antonio dos Santos, founder of consultancy Rural Clima, told Reuters on Monday.

An agronomist who specializes in weather forecasting, he said in a telephone interview that this needs not be a problem as last year’s soy planting occurred earlier than usual in the country. “There is no cause for alarm,” he said.

More extended forecasts by Somar Meteorologia predict isolated rains over the South and Center-West regions of Brazil only in the last 10 days of September, a month when rainfall will be below the historical average in much of Brazil.

For producers in Paraná, the conditions remain very unfavorable to start planting, Santos said. The same applies to farmers in Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, where the fallowing period will end on Sept. 16 but rain volumes and the frequency of rains will be insufficient to begin cultivating the new beans there.

Producers observe the fallowing period for soy, a government measure used to contain spread of soy rust disease.

Traditionally, the rain season occurs around the middle of October and nothing in the models indicate anything unusual, Santos said.

Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of the oilseed, with the country likely selling a record 65 million tonnes of soybeans on export markets in 2018 as demand from China remains strong, Abiove said last week in its first forecast for the new crop.

Brazil’s soy output in the coming 2017/18 season is expected to reach 108.5 million tonnes, according to Abiove.

Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Jonathan Oatis