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Courtesy of Expedição Safra | The drought afflicting much of Brazil is hurting soybean production.
on February 9, 2015

Soybean production in Brazil forecast 3 percent lower

Drought and pests are affecting the crop and are causing a reduction of at least 2.6 million metric tons of production potential

After touring Brazilian regions that account for half of the soybean production in the country, Expedição Safra 2014/15 shows a reduction of at least 3 percent of the maximum production potential of this oilseed crop for this season, reducing the initial forecast from 96.1 million metric tons to nearly 93.2 million metric tons. There are two project teams that are in the field verifying trends in logistics and production, from Rondônia to Paraná in Brazil, with a route of 16 states until after the harvest. 

The reduction is mainly due to climatic problems that have hindered the plantations and work in the fields, especially in the states of Goiás, Mato Grosso do Sul, Mato Grosso and part of Paraná. The attack of some pests, such as whiteflies in Mato Grosso, is also one of the aggravating issues of the reduced harvest scenario.

According to the Indicador Brasil (Brazil Index) launched by the project, the initial estimate was that the national grain production would achieve the 202-million-metric-ton mark in this harvest, in which soy is the only crop with a positive change in this cycle.

"Right now, soy is losing due to the reduction of 2.6 million metric tons of production potential. To reverse the situation, we depend on the weather and productivity by harvesting in regions such as Rio Grande do Sul, which should have an excellent result," said the coordinator of Expedição Safra, Giovani Ferreira.

In the South, in the region of Campos Gerais, the cultivation situation is good and producers expect productivity to be above the state average, while in São Paulo the situation is complicated by drought. Producers and technicians estimate a 15 percent loss of field yield. If it does not rain in the next few days, it could be even worse.

Northern Paraná faces a similar problem as some fields in São Paulo. Some cooperatives reported that they are quite late in planting due to drought, up to 38 days. However, the return of rainfall above 30 millimeters in recent weeks at the grain development stage should ensure a more productive harvest.

In the western region of Paraná, the harvest is well advanced, above 60 percent, plus there are only certain specific losses due to drought. In that area, machines are already planting corn.

In the North, passing through the states of Mato Grosso, Rondônia and Mato Grosso do Sul, Expedição Safra technicians also found the risk of decreased productivity due to lack of rain and also by the presence of pests like whitefly in Mato Grosso fields.

"As the application of products to combat pests is expensive, either producers lose the crop or apply the product and reduce their profitability," Ferreira said.

The shipment of grains for exports via the Northern Arc tends to increase from 4.5 million to 5.5 million metric tons in this cycle.

Rondônia is the Brazilian state with the largest increase in soybean planted areas. The growth was 20 percent in this season to 230,000 hectares. In the coming years, crops will continue to grow, as well as grain shipments by the Madeira River, according to Expedição Safra.

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