Brazilian soybean producers continued to make good progress planting their 2007-2008 crop last week and planting is now winding down in the top-producing state of Mato Grosso, private analysts reported.

The Brazilian consultant Safras & Mercado estimated that 74% of Brazil’s new soybean crop had been planted as of Friday compared with 61% a week earlier and a five-year average of 75%.

In a report posted on its Web site on Friday, Safras estimated that 94% of the Mato Grosso crop had already been planted against a five-year average of 84%. Progress in the No. 2 growing state of Parana was put at 91% versus an average of 89%.

Celeres, another private Brazilian analyst, put planting progress at 72% as of Monday, up from 60% a week earlier and ahead of a five-year average of 68%.

Celeres put Mato Grosso planting progress at 89%, 1% behind a year earlier, and pegged planting progress in Parana at 85%.

Alternating periods of rain and clear weather have allowed producers to catch up on planting after a slow start caused by the late arrival of spring rains.

Widespread rains returned to Mato Grosso over the weekend and should continue through this week, independent Brazilian weather forecaster Somar said on Monday.

The center-west growing belt has been drier than normal in the past several weeks, while the southern soy producing states have seen ample rain.

Somar said Brazil's weather patterns are shifting to favor widespread rain through the week in the center-west states of Mato Grosso and No. 4 producer Goias, as well as in the northeastern soy states, such as Bahia.

Meanwhile, the southern states of Rio Grande do Sul, which is the No. 3 national producer, and Parana, the No. 2 producer, are expected to turn drier for the next 10 days or so.

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.