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Brazil kicks off soybean, summer corn harvests at below-average pace: AgRural

The soybean and summer corn harvests in the 2017-18 season are slowlystarting in Brazil, behind the pace seen in recent years, consultancy AgRuralsaid Friday.

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As of Thursday, 0.1% of the total planted area for soybeans had beenharvested, below 1.1% a year ago and under the five-year average of 0.3% forthe same period. An early harvest is seen in Mato Grosso, Brazil's largest grain producerand where planting generally starts first. AgRural said 0.3% of Mato Grosso'ssoybean fields were harvested as of Thursday, down from 4% last year.

"There were delays in planting due to insufficient rain, so few MatoGrosso areas are ready to harvest," AgRural said in a report.

It added that farmers must keep focused on the weather forecast, as heavyrain expected in the coming weeks could hamper harvest work and spoil beanquality in the case of high precipitation levels.

While other states historically kick off their harvests close to the sametime as Mato Grosso -- such as Parana, Mato Grosso do Sul and Goias -- AgRuralsaid there was no progress worth noting in recent days in those areas, alsodue to delays in the sowing period.

AgRural said Thursday that Brazil would harvest 114 million mt ofsoybeans this season, nearly matching the record of 114.1 million mt seen in2016-17.

Sources note that the pace of the soybean harvest can influence thewinter corn crop, which is sown immediately after and accounts for almosttwo-thirds of Brazilian corn production.

As for the summer corn crop, AgRural said the harvest has already startedin Rio Grande do Sul state. The pace of harvest has accordingly reached 0.1%of the total planted area in the Center-South region, below the five-yearaverage of 0.5% for the period.

--Gustavo Bonato, by Lisa Miller,