Mixed signals from South American soybean crop

12.01.2018

Early signs of good yields have been reported as the soybean harvest began in Brazil.

The Mato Grosso state, where about a third of Brazil’s soybeans are grown, is typically the first to begin harvest. While few fields have been harvested to date, early reports are of good yields. An agricultural engineer in the region estimated around 3 tonnes per hectare were realized, but persistent rain in February and March could drop that yield estimate.

Extensive rainfall historically has exacerbated soy rust fungus in Mato Grosso’s later-maturing soybean varieties. Last season, the state was beset by late spring rainfall that pushed planting of the current crop further into the growing window and increased risk of rust. Irregular rainfall caused the slowest growth in five years, the Mato Grosso State Farm Economy Institute said in its latest report. Projections are for the state to harvest 30.6 million tonnes of soybeans this season, down 1 million tonnes, or 3%, from 31.6 million tonnes the previous season.

For Brazil in total, grain analysts are forecasting Brazil’s 2017-18 soybean production at 110.3 million tonnes, up 2% from the December forecast of 108 million tonnes.

Analysts from Celeres, the Brazilian consultancy, estimated Brazil’s 2017-18 crop production at 111.8 million tonnes, up 1.9% from their previous forecast.

Argentina, which produces around 19% of the world’s soybeans, typically harvests from April through June. Analysts expect the USDA on Friday to lower its forecast for Argentinian soybean production in 2017-18 to 56 million tonnes, compared with its December forecast of 57 million tonnes.  


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