Crop losses to diseases and spoilage and transport difficulties caused by the heavy rains during the early months of 2018 are threatening the ongoing 2017/18 soyabean harvest in Brazil.

Some farmers in the major soyabean producing states of Mato Grosso and Rio Grande do Sul were reporting increased incidence of the white mould, which had caused yields to fall approximate two to seven 60kg bags/ha from the norm, equaling 55-75 bags/ha less, AgriCensus wrote on 13 February.

“We’re seeing outbreaks of white mould with the wetter weather during harvest. It’s getting to be a bigger problem for farmers because you can only spray fungicides in the flowering phase,” said farming consultant Aureo Lantmann.

Spoilage and fermentation of soyabeans – in addition to other crops such as soup beans and cotton – had also become a problem in Mato Grosso, which had seen nearly daily rains, according to AgriCensus.

Safras e Mercado, an agriconsultancy based in the state, said 37% of Mato Grosso’s soya crop had been harvested by 11 February, significantly behind the 54% harvested by the same time last year, due to some farmers deciding to let their fields dry out to avoid paying higher freight and drying costs.

Others, however, had decided to harvest their beans anyway rather than suffer greater yield losses, which had led to reports from grain warehouses that the beans being delivered to them had humidity levels up to 40%, well above the 14% standard accepted by most storage silos.

Warehouses in producing states also said their storage spaces were filling up quickly due to the partially impassable state of the BR-163 road, the main transport route leading northwards to the grain export terminals of Pará state.

While most of the highway had been cleared, truckers were complaining that they were unable to pass a 65km stretch in Mato Grosso that frustrated locals had dubbed Soap Mountain due to the slippery and sinking conditions, reported AgriCensus.