The Brazilian soybean harvest is expected to be even larger
than thought, the US Department of Agriculture's Brasilia bureau said, easing
some concerns over the oilseed, even if dryness is still seen threatening some other
The bureau lifted by 1m tonnes to 83m tonnes its forecast
for the newly-started Brazilian soybean harvest.
The upgrade took the estimate 2m tonnes above the USDA's
official forecast, which is up for revision at the end of next week in the
monthly Wasde crop report, a key feature of the world agriculture commodities
And would leave sufficient crop to support 39.0m tonnes of
exports in 2012-13 – a rise of 21% year on year, and ensuring that Brazil takes
by a margin top position in the soybean shippers' league, traditionally headed
by the US, which is expected to sell 36.6m tonnes abroad this time.
The production upgrade reflected promising crop condition,
including in the top three producing states of Mato Grosso, Parana and Rio
Grande do Sul.
"Crop conditions are rated good across all major producing regions,"
USDA attaché Jeff Zimmerman said.
'Soybeans in jeopardy'
However, he acknowledged concerns raised by some other commentators,
saying that "some isolated areas received less-than-desirable rainfall".
On Wednesday, Gail Martell, at Martell Crop Projections,
warned that "an enormous area of the Brazil tropics are experiencing drought", with
even Mato Grosso experiencing "exceptionally dry conditions over the past two
weeks which is unusual in December, one of the wettest months of the summer
"Perhaps 45% of soybeans are in jeopardy from drought, altogether,
when other dry states in the tropics are considered."
And Michael Cordonnier, the influential crop scout,
cautioned that "regions of north eastern Brazil continue to be in the grip of
one of the worst droughts in 40 years.
"Parts of the area received some rainfall during November
after months of no rainfall whatsoever, but the rainfall during December was
once again much below normal."
However, the north eastern region is a relatively minor
soybean producing area, with Bahia, one of the states affected, producing just
4.5% of the national harvest of the oilseed, and Minas Gerais, another
drought-hit state, about 4%.
But Bahia is a major cotton-growing region, responsible for some
30% of Brazil's output, while Minas Gerais is the top producing state of arabica
"Bahia is the fourth-largest coffee producing state in
Brazil and production is expected to be down by one-third this year," Dr
Cordonnier, at Soybean and Corn Advisor, said.
Furthermore, there is a 75% probability that rainfall during
the remaining summer will be average or below average, according to Carlos
Nobre, a senior official at the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation.
"If his prediction turns out to be accurate, then row crop
production in Bahia and northern Minas Gerais could be significantly impacted,"
Dr Cordonnier said.