Prices of Brazilian crop land have soared 18% in the past
year, to judge by data from one of the country's biggest agricultural groups,
which revealed plans to take sowings nearly to 300,000 hectares.
The 220,000 hectares of Brazilian farmland that farm operator
SLC Agricola has owned for more than a year was valued by Deloitte at R$2.05bn,
an 18.2% increase year on year.
Including 75,000 hectares bought by SLC over the year, the
group's total portfolio was pegged at $2.32bn.
The increase reflected gains throughout the portfolio, which
stretches from Mato Grosso, the top soybean-producing state, in the west to
Bahia in the east, part of the increasingly popular Mapitoba frontier.
The group's Bahia farm of Palmares was the top performer,
notching up a 21.7% gain.
Brazil vs US
The valuations, which exclude buildings, improvements and
machinery, would appear to show Brazilian land appreciating faster than US
farms, which rose in value by 10.9% over the last year, according to the US Department
US crop land rose by 14.5%, the data, released on Friday,
Brazilian farmland has been particularly prized by many
foreign investors, prompting the government to clampdown on foreign ownership.
However, SLC's portfolio was worth, at an average of R$7,875
per hectare, or $1,580 per acre, considerably less than average US farmland,
valued at $2,650 per acre, although this figure does including buildings.
US cropland was valued at $3,550 per acre overall, with Iowa
the most expensive state, averaging $7,300 per acre.
SLC's most expensive farm was valued at R$15,709 per
hectare, or $3,151 per acre.
SLC unveiled the valuations as it revealed a loss of R$45.3m
for the April-to-June quarter, compared with earnings of R$42.0m a year before.
The decline represented largely a quirk in debt valuations.
The group also acknowledged a hit from dry weather over
2011-12 to its harvests of soybeans, which came in 5.1% below forecasts, and first
Heavy rains in Mato Gross and Mato Grosso do Sul were, by "causing
some bolls to rotten", set to leave first crop cotton yields 7.1% below
SLC added that its farmland open for cultivation may rise by 47,240 hectares for 2012-13, taking total area above 295,000 hectares.
SLC shares closed down 3.2% at R$21.80 in Sao Paulo.