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Brazil looking at another record soy cropBrazil looking at another record soy crop

Exchange rate may be the biggest factor.

James Thompson

January 19, 2017

3 Min Read


Brazil’s Conab - an agency of the Ministry of Agriculture- nudged this season’s Brazil soybean planted upward, to 83.4 million acres in its just-released January report.

Sure, U.S. farmers are likely to plant plenty more beans than last year this spring, but the dollar is doing well against Brazil’s local currency to help make up for the pressure on prices your planting plans may make on world prices.

And, if fact, Conab says producers are spending more money on inputs for their bean crop this time around, in an effort to make up for a not very pleasing 2015-16 season, marred by cruel El Nino weather patterns.

Agroconsult, a consultant, has gone so high as to put current-season Brazilian soybean production at 104.4 million tonnes, with a national average yield of 45.4 bushels per acre.

Slightly larger planted area
The slightly increased planted area for beans is coming mostly from degraded pasture and former sugarcane ground, the agency says, as ethanol refiners opt to not renew some contracts with producers. But it comes to about 6.2 million more bean acres, in all, than were planted last time around.

Given the predicted national average yield of 45.6 bushels per acre, Brazil should produce just under 103.8 million tonnes (I know you’re tired of hearing it, but that’s another record) of beans this time around, despite the localized issues I discussed in my previous blog.

Here’s a rundown of what’s going on in the top three Brazilian soybean-producing states:

In number-one Mato Grosso, the harvest is moving along rapidly as dry weather has prevailed. That’s great, of course, for harvesting those early-cycle beans, but not so good on the longer-cycle crop that is still in pod-fill. That said, meteorologists are predicting rain next week. As a result, the average statewide forecast yield of 46.6 bushels per acre could be saved.

In number-two Parana, where Conab is calling for a statewide average yield of 48.2 bushels per acre in a state where the projected soy area is down nearly 3.5 percent mostly in favor of main-crop corn. The state department of agriculture says 97% of the crop is in “good” condition, with 61% in pod-fill.

Things have gone quite normally in number-three Brazilian soy producer Rio Grande do Sul, though, as reported earlier this week, produced Marcelo Cerutti says the rains just have not let up. Even so, the federal ministry expects Rio Grande do Sul state to come in at about the same yield and production as last year.

A big year
As in the United States, the big year doesn’t affect everybody. But Brazil is looking at a new record soybean crop this year, says the federal government, and, since soybeans are linked in value to the U.S. dollar, producers stand to do pretty well for themselves. Their issue will come up next season, when they have to buy inputs based on those relatively high exchange rates between the Brazilian real and the dollar.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Penton Agriculture.


About the Author(s)

James Thompson


James Thompson grew up on farms in Illinois and Tennessee and got his start in Ag communications when he won honorable mention in a 4-H speech contest. He graduated from University of Illinois and moved to Tocantins, Brazil and began farming. Over his career he has written several articles on South American agriculture for a number of publications around the world. He also edits www.cropspotters.com, a site focusing on Brazilian agriculture.

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