Brazil raises soybean crop estimate, slashes winter corn crop projection


The Brazilian crop agency Conab on Thursday raised its estimate for the 2017/18 domestic soybean crop and cut the forecast for corn production.

Conab said the soybean crop will total 111.56 million mt, compared with a forecast of 110.44 million mt in January, but below the record output posted in 2016/17 of 114.08 million mt, when the weather was nearly perfect in all the key producing regions.

The agency increased slightly both its estimates for the planted area for soybeans and for the yield compared with last month's report.

Conab said the harvest in Mato Grosso, the largest grains producer in the country, is legging behind the pace seen last year. The work is completed in a little over 15% of the planted area in the state.

"The rating of the beans harvested so far is positive, despite low moisture and lighter grains," it said in the report.

In Parana state, the second largest grains producer, the harvest will kick off in February in most regions, said Conab.

The agency warned high precipitation levels are increasing the number of cases of fungal diseases in Parana, but added farmers have been successful in fighting back against the diseases.

Conab also increased its projection for Brazilian soybean exports from the 2017/18 crop to 66 million mt, from 65 million mt in January. The figure remains below the 68.15 million mt of the 2016/17 crop exported.

Brazil is the world's largest soybeans exporter, ahead of the US and Argentina. CORN

For the first time this season, Conab released an updated estimate for acreage in the winter corn crop, which is currently being planted, immediately after soybeans are harvested in many regions of the country.

Following its methodology, Conab had repeated the acreage figure from 2016/17 in the four previous reports.

Now the agency projects the planted area in the winter corn crop in 2017/18 will be 11.43 million hectares, down 5.6% from the previous season.

"In previous years, we saw farmers preferring to cut the corn acreage in the summer and increase it in the winter, but this is not the case this season," it said.

Conab expects a fairly stable yield in 2017/18 compared with 2016/17, but cut its forecast of production from the winter crop to 63.26 million mt from 67.17 million mt in January. A record 67.38 million mt was reaped in 2016/17.

The estimate for the summer corn crop in 2017/18 was cut to 24.75 million mt from 25.18 million mt in the previous report and was down 18.75% compared with the 30.46 million mt harvested in 2016/17, as lower yields are expected during the coming season.

Conab's total corn crop estimate for 2017/18 plunged to 88 million mt from 92.35 million mt in January. A record of 97.84 million mt was posted in 2016/17.

The estimate for exports of the 2017/18 crop were unchanged at 30 million mt as the figure for year-ending stocks was slashed. Brazil exported 30.82 million mt in 2016/17, making it the world's second largest corn exporter after the US.


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