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Soybean Numbers Dropping in South America

Commodity markets continue to watch crop progress in South America. Dr. Michael Cordonnier, an agronomist with Soybean and Corn Advisors, Inc., says South American farmers are losing some potential harvest to weather conditions.

He says, “In Brazil, the problem is they had very hot, dry weather in October, November, and early December, and that really impacted the early-maturing soybeans. And to give you an idea, in Mato Grosso as of last Friday, the soybeans were about six-and-a-half percent harvested, and the average yield thus far was 35 bushels per acre. That’s about 20 bushels less than what was anticipated, and it was all because of the hot, dry weather during pod fill. About 40 percent of the soybeans in Mato Grosso are early-maturing, so the hot, dry weather sped up the growth cycle for the soybeans, reduced the yield, and delayed the planting.”

Farmers in northeast Brazil recently finished planting their soybeans, one or two months behind normal. Forecasters are lowering their soybean yield predictions including Dr. Cordonnier. He says, “I lowered my Brazil soybeans by two million tons to 149 million metric tons. All the private estimates have been lowered due to the poor yields of the early-maturing soybeans. Now the soybeans nationwide last Friday are like two-and-a-half percent harvested, and that’s going to pick up now with drier weather and more later-developing soybeans maturing, so this has been a historic loss for soybeans in Central Brazil.”

Despite the yield loss, South America will still produce a lot of soybeans, thanks in part to improved numbers in Argentina.

Dr. Cordonnier says, “If you look at all of South America combined right now, the soybean production has gone up about 18 million tons from last year. But there’s a big caveat here. I have Brazil soybeans, 149, and some of the losses in Brazil are being made up by good increases in Argentina. Last year, Argentina had a terrible year. Their soybean production was like 25 million tons. This year, I have them at 52 million tons, so some of the losses in Brazil are being made up by Argentina, but it took the whole South American continent. It’s probably gonna be more soybeans than last year but much less than what we anticipated a couple of months ago.”

Argentina’s crop production doubled last year’s numbers. He says, “Last year was historic drought, you know, the worst drought in 60 years. I have Argentina soybeans, 52 million tons. That’s like a long-term trend, so that’s what it should have been last year, but there was just such a terrible drought. It’s going from a very bad year to quite a good year, and the moisture in Argentina has been improving for the last month or two. Crops have improved as well. The soybeans, as of last Friday, were 93 percent planted and about 30 percent blooming. The corn was 85 percent planted and about 20 percent pollinating and I raised both estimates.”

Cordonnier’s current estimate for Brazil’s soybeans is 149 million metric tons. Brazil’s corn is estimated to be 115 million tons. Argentina’s soybean estimate is 52 million metric tons, and the corn is 56 million. Paraguay’s soybean estimate is 10 million metric tons, and Paraguay’s corn is estimated at 5 million.

Story provided by NAFB News Service

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