Uruguay is a small soybean producing country wedged between its two giant neighbors of Brazil and Argentina, but farmers in Uruguay have been showing more interest in soybean production in recent years. The soybean production in Uruguay in 2017/18 is turning out to be very disappointing and not the type of year farmers had been hoping for.
The 2017/18 soybean crop in Uruguay encountered two severe weather extremes. The first extreme was a severe drought during January to March that impacted the soybeans when the crop was setting pods and filling pods. The second problem was during April and May when a prolonged period of wet weather delayed harvest and resulted in poorer quality seed.
The director of agricultural statistics (DIEA) from the Ministry of Agriculture (MGAP) recently released their latest assessment of the 2017/18 soybean production in the country and it is not good at all. They are estimating the 2017/18 Uruguay soybean production at 1.3 million tons, which would be down 61% compared to 2016/17 when the country produced 3.2 million tons.
DIEA is estimating the nationwide soybean yield at just 1,241 kg/ha (18.3 bu/ac), which represents a decline of 59% compared to last year’s yield of 3,026 kg/ha (44.7 bu/ac). Farmers in Uruguay planted an estimated 1.06 million hectares of soybeans in 2017/18 and they have harvested 54% of the full-season soybeans and 30% of the double crop soybeans.
Soybeans are produced in two regions of Uruguay. One region is in the northern part of the country along the border with Brazil’s southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul. Farmers in southern Rio Grande do Sul also experienced the same severe drought and subsequent reduction in soybean yields. The other region of production is in western Uruguay along the border with Argentina’s easternmost state of Entre Rios. The same extreme drought that impacted Entre Rios also impacted Uruguay.