March 9, 2004



Brazil 2003-04 Soybean Production Forecast Lowered To 56.17 Million MT

Brazilian agricultural consultants Celeres lowered its estimate for the local 2003-04 (October-September) soybean crop to 56.17 million metric tons in its latest forecast released Monday due to drought in the south of Brazil, excessive rains in the center- west and outbreaks of the yield-sapping Asian rust fungus in all the main producing regions.
The forecast was dropped from 59.64 million tons in February and is now at the low end of recently adjusted local estimates. On Friday, the Brazilian soybean crushing industry cut its projection to 56.9 million tons.
With a sharp jump in planted area, production remains 7.0% higher than the 52.48 million tons produced in 2002-03, said a report.
According to Anderson Galvao Gomes, Celeres soy analyst, the losses were focused in the No. 2 soy state of Parana, where the production forecast was reduced to 10.505 million tons, down 1.606 million tons on the February estimate and 461,000 tons lower than the 2002-03 crop, and Mato Grosso, the No. 1 soy state, where output was pegged at 14.911 million tons, down 1.423 million tons from February but still higher than the 13.434 million tons produced the year before.
The weather and rust attacks mean average Brazilian yields will be 5.9% lower than last year at 2,653 kilograms per hectare. Gomes said the losses were the largest shown since 1992-93 and, unless weather conditions improve, further losses are inevitable.
The soybean harvest is 13% complete, slightly behind the 14% collected at the same time last year and the five-year average of 17%.

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