SAO PAULO, BRAZIL (March 10, 2011) - Heavy rains in March caused losses to the soybean crop in Brazil's No. 5 producing state Mato Grosso do Sul, although preliminary estimates of losses were still sketchy.
Mato Grosso do Sul received over 300 millimeters (12 inches) in the first eight days of March, more than double the monthly average of rainfall that the state gets for all of March, independent weather forecaster Somar said Thursday.
"The rains in Mato Grosso do Sul have now become much weaker, but many low-lying areas that were flooded will take a long time to dry out," meteorologist Celso de Oliveira of Somar said.
He said soy had spoiled or sprouted in the pod in many areas. "In some areas, there is nothing left to do -- it's a complete loss," he said.
He added that many soy areas in the state are flat, those that are flooded will require time to dry out and many of the rivers that feed the area are still rising due to rains at their sources.
"Those in higher areas have already resumed harvesting soy with the return of sunny weather yesterday," Oliveira added.
Earlier on Thursday, the government released its official monthly forecast of the new grains crop, which estimated that Mato Grosso do Sul would account for 5.4 million tonnes of the country's record 70.3 million tonne harvest.
A report from the local Globo News television showed isolated scenes of flooded fields in Mato Grosso do Sul and said that some areas were reporting potential losses of up to 40 percent of their crops.
The Mato Grosso do Sul state agricultural secretariat said that it would release a preliminary estimate of the impact of the rains on state's grain crop later on Thursday.
Weather over the southern grain states of No. 2 soy producer Parana and No. 3 soy grower Rio Grande do Sul has been clear in March after heavy rains over February, conditions which should favor a record crop in the two major growing states.
Some moderate rains are forecast for the weekend over the two states, which will have made considerable progress in their harvests in the past days due to the hot sunny weather.
MATO GROSSO, GOIAS
The two largest soy producers in the center-west -- No. 1 soy state Mato Grosso and No. 4 Goias -- have been getting regular rains in March, but harvesting has continued without major disruption due to weather.
Goias is reported to be more than 50 percent harvested, according to analysts Celeres, while Mato Grosso is 43 percent harvested.
Mato Grosso do Sul, also in the center-west, has harvested 21 percent of its crop as of March 4, Celeres reported.