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Rains drench Brazil's main agricultural commodity belt

SAO PAULO - Heavy rains began falling on Brazil's drought-stressed center-south coffee and sugar cane farms and are expected to unleash planting of soybeans and corn in the grain-rich center-west states, forecasters said on Tuesday.

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SAO PAULO - Heavy rains began falling on Brazil's drought-stressed center-south coffee and sugar cane farms and are expected to unleash planting of soybeans and corn in the grain-rich center-west states, forecasters said on Tuesday.

Government-linked meteorologist Inmet posted advisories for intense rain over Brazil's leading coffee region of southern Minas Gerais state on Tuesday. Light showers were registered over the weekend at Inmet weather stations in the traditional coffee regions of the state including Varginha, Caldas and Uberlandia.

The moisture will assure that recently formed coffee buds will likely fix to branches and begin development into cherries over the coming weeks to months. Drought-stressed trees will welcome the moisture and develop foliage and new branches that will protect and carry fruit in the future.

Rains swept over large swaths of sugar cane and coffee regions of Sao Paulo state overnight, including large areas of Parana state and Mato Grosso do Sul state, according to satellite and radar data from University of Sao Paulo weather service IPMet.

The moisture will hurt cane mills' efforts to harvest a record crop this season. Analysts say the sugar and ethanol industry has already lost at least three weeks of crushing time to rain.

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Agricultural forecaster Somar expects rains to fall over nearly all of Brazil's southern and southeastern states in the first half of November. Rains are seen falling over western-central Mato Grosso soy farms this week but will turn to scattered showers later in the month, Somar said.

The fresh moisture will trigger planting of the new grain crop in the region. Brazil is expected to produce a record harvest of more than 100 million tonnes of soybeans, which will start in January of 2016.

U.S. service Commodity Weather Group (CWG) said rains would taper off in the coming days but were already set to return in less than two weeks over Brazil's agricultural belt. Some coffee areas that have not seen sufficient rains in the past days could suffer stress over the next weeks until moisture returns to the region, CWG said.

Related Topics: DROUGHT
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