Brazil harvests just 1.8% of soy area so far, narrowing corn planting window

Credit: REUTERS/Reuters Staff

SAO PAULO, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Brazil's soybean farmers have harvested only 1.8% of the soybean area so far this season, agribusiness consultancy AgRural said on Monday, reducing the ideal window for planting of the country's second corn that is sowed after the oilseed is collected.

Most of the soy harvested through last Thursday is in Mato Grosso, Brazil's largest grain state. In other states, harvesting is expected to pick up in February due to planting delays, AgRural said.

At this point last season, Brazilian farmers had already harvested 6.1% of their fields, according to the consultancy, which added projected yields indicate Brazil will collect another bumper crop.

"For it to be a truly great harvest, we need rains lasting until the end of April and if possible beginning of May," Antonio Galvan, a grain grower in Mato Grosso, told Reuters when asked about the prospect of planting corn outside the ideal window.

"Demand for soy and corn in the world is strong. Let us hope Mato Grosso will break another soy and corn production record," he said.

Bartolomeu Braz, a farmer in Goias, said in the center of Brazil soy planting and harvesting delays will cause farmers to plant corn later than last year. In some cases, he noted, farmers may opt to plant sorghum, sunflower or pulses to guarantee a second harvest, even if that means cultivating a less lucrative crop than corn.

"This is designed to reduce losses in areas prepared for planting of a second crop," Braz said.

AgRural's current forecast for Brazil's 2019/20 soybean harvest is 123.9 million tonnes.

(Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Tom Brown)

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