Soybean planting activity accelerated last week in Brazil after widespread rains ended a severe dry spell across the central-west growing belt, while in Argentina, producers continued to make good early planting progress.

Despite the rains that have cleared temporarily over most of the soy belt, the sector is still behind schedule due to the unusually long dry spell that has set planting back about three weeks.

Private analyst Celeres said on Monday that 14% of Brazil’s expected 2007-2008 crop had been planted, up from 4% a week earlier, but behind the year-earlier pace of 20%.

Another analyst, Safras & Mercados, pegged planting progress at 13% compared with 22% a year earlier and a five-year average of 16%.

The No. 1 soybean producing state of Mato Grosso has seeded 28% of its expected area, down from 35% this time a year ago, Celeres said.

No. 2 soy state Parana has planted 20% of its crop, down from 25% a year ago. The No. 3 soy state, Rio Grande do Sul, has planted 3% of its crop, down from 5% this time a year ago, Celeres data showed.

The Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange said on Friday in its weekly crop report that Argentina's farmers had planted 4.5% of an estimated 16.8 million hectares seen going to soybeans this season.

Good moisture levels were allowing for widespread seeding, with the planting pace 2% ahead of the pace at this time last season, the Exchange said.

On Friday, Argentina’s Agriculture Secretariat said soybean planting spread across the Pampas region last week.

Soybean planting "is expected to increase rapidly on the next days," the Secretariat said.

The Secretariat also said that as of Oct. 25, farmers had planted 64% of the 4 million hectares seen going to corn this season, 9% ahead of the planting pace on the same date last year.

Editor’s note: Richard Brock, The Corn And Soybean Digest's Marketing Editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.