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Harvest Of Large Brazil Soy Crop Slowed By Rain

Brazilian soy farmers have gathered about 18 per cent of the 2009-10 crop, analysts Celeres said on Monday, Feb. 22, more than usual due to an early harvest, but less than hoped for because of delays caused by heavy rains.

“The harvest is advancing, but at a slower pace than hoped due to the greater incidence of rains,” Celeres analysts noted in a weekly bulletin.

Celeres data for the last five years suggest only 10 per cent of the crop would usually be gathered by this time.

Brazil’s 2009-10 soy crop is expected to turn out a record harvest of 66.7 million tonnes, after a previous forecast of 65 million tonnes was revised upward this month.

Good rains until now had helped foster the development of a large, early crop by moistening the soil for early sowing of the oilseed last September.

But in a weekly crop bulletin, Brazilian meteorologists Somar said rains were heavy enough to stop harvesting altogether in some places.

“Producers have suffered with continual rains in the last seven days. Because of this, harvesting activities are compromised and in many localities, totally halted,” Somar forecaster Marco dos Santos said in a weekly soy bulletin.

More rain was expected this week.

Forward sales of the crop, the way most Brazilian farmers choose to commercialize their soy, reached the equivalent of 30 per cent of the harvest, up two percentage points from the previous week but behind 34 per cent by this time last year.

On average over the last five years, 44 per cent of the crop had been sold by this stage.

Although delayed by the rain, which is frequent at this time of year as Brazil enters the late stages of summer, harvesting is usually only just getting started at this time of year.

But the rain is likely to bring more than just delays as the spores that cause soy rust flourish in moist conditions and are likely to quickly gain a firmer foothold.

Somar said heavy rains and little sunshine would reduce plants’ output in some areas by around a 10th.

Slower harvesting should at least ease pressure on storage capacity in the country’s silos. Carry-over stocks are larger than usual this year so the slower arrival of new produce will allow more time to clear some of these stocks first.

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