January 14, 2005         



Brazil's Soybean Production Seen To Rise 23%


USDA estimates 2004-05 Brazilian soybean production at a record 64.5 million tons, rising 23 percent from last year's drought and rust-afflicted crop. Brazil is now the top soybean producer in the world.


Its crop size impacts price prospects for bean farmers and traders in areas as far away as India and China.


Harvested area is estimated at a record 23.0 million hectares, up 1.5 million or 7 percent from last year. Yields are forecast at a near-record 2.8 tons per hectare, but slightly below the 25-year trend.


Asian soybean rust has been widely reported across Brazil. However, Brazilian government agencies and private agricultural consultants indicate that preventative fungicide applications have been successful so far in limiting crop damage and yield losses.


Last year's heavy rains in February contributed to the ineffectiveness of the rust spraying campaign in important producing states such as Mato Grosso and Goias, leading to severe crop losses.


Most observers indicate that ample supplies of fungicide are available this year and farmers are better prepared to battle the disease.


The bulk of the national soybean crop is currently in excellent condition, though those growing in Rio Grande do Sul and Bahia have been experiencing drought-like conditions during December and early January.


Fortunately for soybean producers in Rio Grande do Sul, plentiful rainfall fell on January 10th, providing a welcome respite from previously stressful growing conditions.


Soil moisture reserves in this states key growing regions are now temporarily recharged, as the crop proceeds into reproductive flowering growth stage.


Both Rio Grande do Sul and Bahia in particular need additional rainfall over the next 6-8 weeks to support continued crop development and ensure above average crop yield prospects.

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