South American soybean crop forecast raised slightly, February 15, 2011
by Jay Sjerven

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Feb. 9 raised its forecast of South American (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and Uruguay) soybean production in the current season to 128.7 million tonnes, up 0.5 million tonnes from the January projection but down 5.49 million tonnes, or 4%, from a record 134.19 million tonnes in 2009-10. The South American crop was projected to account for just more than 50% of the world soybean production in 2010-11, which was forecast at 256.1 million tonnes.

Brazil is the world’s second-largest producer of soybeans behind the United States. The U.S.D.A. projected the Brazilian soybean crop at 68.5 million tonnes, up 1 million tonnes from the January forecast but down 0.5 million tonnes from the nation’s record outturn of 69 million tonnes in 2009-10. The U.S.D.A. commented, “The weather situation across Brazil has eased earlier concerns about dryness in the central-west and southern regions. As of early February, the soybean crop across Brazil is in good condition.” The U.S.D.A. noted harvesting was progressing rapidly.

Argentina is South America’s second-largest soybean producer. The U.S.D.A. projected the Argentine soybean crop at 49.5 million tonnes, down 1 million tonnes from the January forecast and down 5 million tonnes, or 9%, from a record 54.5 million tonnes in 2009-10. The U.S.D.A. noted while area planted to soybeans in Argentina at 18.6 million hectares was unchanged from the previous year, yields were forecast to be 9% lower than in 2009-10 because of dry conditions. “Approximately 40% of the early-planted soy was flowering during the drought conditions in December and early January, which will likely reduce potential yield. The U.S. agricultural attaché in Buenos Aires reported the first-crop soybeans were shorter than normal.” The U.S.D.A. projected the Paraguayan crop at a record 7.5 million tonnes, up 0.5 million tonnes from January and up 0.3 million tonnes, or 4%, from 7.2 million tonnes in 2009-10, the previous record.

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