The deterioration in South America's weather, which has
already sparked downgrades to hopes for Argentina's soybean crop, is beginning
to raise doubts of Brazil's too, dashing expectations of bumper yields.
The wet weather in central Brazil, including in Mato Grosso,
has until to now been seen as an impediment to harvest progress and logistics, but
a support to yields.
Indeed, upgrades to estimates for Brazil's 202-13 soybean crop
have to some extent balanced downgrades to thinking on Argentina's, which is
being sapped by hot and dry weather.
Informa on Friday raised its estimate for Brazil's soybean harvest
by 1.1m tonnes, to 84.0m tonnes, but cuts its forecast for Argentina's by 3.9m
tonnes to 54.5m tonnes.
However, on Monday, Brazil-based AgRural called time on
rising hopes for Brazilian soybeans, lowering its estimate for the crop by 1.0m
tonnes to 81.2m tonnes, warning that the heavy rains had begun to hurt yields
"Due to humidity, the quality of the beans harvested up
until now has been below expectations," the consultancy said.
The comments were echoed by Michael Cordonnier, the
influential crop scout, who warned of "more and more reports of poor seed
quality" from the early harvest.
"We are talking about small, shrivelled seed, some is mouldy,
with light weight, on which farmers are being forced to take discounts" to
sell, Dr Cordonnier said.
"In few cases, seed has sprouted in the pod. When that
happens the field is toast, and you might as well plough it in."
The results bore out a strategy among Brazilian farmers of
splitting soybean sowings equally between early, medium and late maturing
"You not want all your soybeans maturing in mid-January because
that is the height of the rainy season, and it might be two or three weeks
before you can get the crop harvested," Dr Cordonnier said.
"They were talking about a super-record harvest in Mato
Grosso. Now they just hope the weather dries up so they can get an average
Meanwhile, further south, in Rio Grande do Sul, where
dryness has tested crops, weekend rains had disappointed.
'It has been hot, dry'
Dr Cordonnier said he was sticking by a forecast of 81m
tonnes for Brazil's soybean crop, which would still be a record.
"I had been considering raising my forecast. But I'm glad I
didn't," he said.
However, he did lower by 1m tonnes to 51m tonnes his
forecast for Argentina's soybean crop.
The US Department of Agriculture, whose data set global
benchmarks, pegs the harvest at 54m tonnes.
However, a report from its Buenos Aires bureau overnight estimated
the crop at 53m tonnes, warning that "since mid-December, it has been hot, dry,
and there hasn't been significant rainfall in much of the major production area".