Brazil could show smallest soy acreage increase in years

Early indications predict better 2016-17 soy yields; pressure from corn

Soybeans are set to take the gold in the 2016-17 season, but the corn planted area might just take the edge of that crop’s growth this coming season. That’s what a local Safras & Mercado report indicates as the world gears up for the opening of the Rio Olympics.

Safras says Brazilian producers will produce 82.6 million acres of beans this coming season. If they’re right, that would be an area increase of less than 1% of last season. It would also be the smallest year-on-year soybean acreage increase we’ve seen from Brazil in a good while.

But if farmers can come up with the consultancy’s expected yield increase—from last season’s 43.7 bushels per acre to the projected 46 bushels, they could still end up nonetheless producing more than 103 million tonnes of the oilseed this time around. And while a year-on-year jump of more than 6% may seem quite a task, consider how disappointed so many producers were with an El Nino that was such a dud. See my May 13 recap of the poor South American bean weather, El Nino Dumps Heavy Rains Across Argentina, Brazil. It seems a reasonable goal.

Where those acres will come from…

All three of Brazil’s big corn-producing states are also big soy producers—Parana and Rio Grande do Sul in the South, and Mato Grosso in the northerly reaches. Most of any 2016-17 corn acreage loss should come from the two southern states. Both have big main-crop corn production, and corn prices down there are always going to be better than elsewhere because of the far better logistics situation in the region.

Most of any Mato Grosso corn area increase will more likely come from more corn after beans or even from producers putting more corn on degraded pasture as they wait for better beef prices, indicate Safras experts in local media.

But these are early days. We may have to wait until we at least get through the Olympics before we get a better idea of producer intentions.

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

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