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Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Soybean farmers in Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul state, the country’s third-largest producer, are benefiting from rain in the South American country, said the state crop-forecasting agency.

“Soybean crop conditions are very good at this moment,” Alencar Paulo Rugeri, technical director for Emater, said today in a telephone interview from Porto Alegre, Brazil. “La Nina is not as strong as we had expected.”

La Nina, as the cyclical cooling of equatorial Pacific Ocean waters is known, is causing global weather changes, including dryness in parts of Brazil. Brazil’s soybean harvest, which started this week, runs through May.

Adequate rainfalls have occurred in most producing areas of Rio Grande do Sul except for the southern part of the state, which represents 7 percent of its output, Rugeri said.

Rio Grande do Sul, which accounts for 12 percent of Brazil’s output, is expected to produce 8.52 million metric tons this year, Brazil’s agriculture ministry said in a report today. Last year, the state harvested 10.2 million tons.

Mato Grosso state and Parana are the country’s first- and second-largest producers, respectively.

Soybean futures for March delivery fell 12.5 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $13.8100 a bushel at 1:39 p.m. New York time on the Chicago Board of Trade.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lucia Kassai in Sao Paulo at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at

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