We all know Brazil is likely to produce more soybeans and corn in 2012-13, but how much more are farmers there likely to produce? Government agencies haven't come forward with an estimate yet, but that hasn't stopped private Brazilian consultancies from taking a stab at guessing just what the numbers might look like at a time of historically-high prices pressured upward by severe drought across the U.S. Midwest.
One of those firms is Céleres, which says farmers here will plant a record 67 million acres, up eight percent from 2011-12. Meanwhile, the consultancy's first crop estimate puts the national average yield on those acres at 42.7 bushels per acre, which is up nine percent from last year, in which Brazilians in the southern part of the country got hit hard with dry weather. That would put Brazil's production at a whopping 78.1 million tonnes, up nearly 18 percent from last season.
"Brazilian producers have additional incentives to plant the country's biggest-ever soybean crop," Céleres said in its most recent subscriber bulletin. They add that the Brazilian real's drop against the U.S. dollar is another factor driving a likely increase in the Brazilian soy crop.
And there will be more Brazilian corn, too, the consultancy says—at least there will be more second-crop corn. The southern state of Paraná is Brazil's biggest main-crop corn producer, and farmers there took a big hit when December and January passed without even close to enough rain. A lot of soybean farmers across the region tried to make it up with second-crop corn, hoping the rains would extend late-enough into June, in this La Nina year, for second-crop corn to make up for some of their soybean losses. And did it ever.
Producers who tried second-crop corn appear to like what they saw: As a result, Céleres projects Brazil's main-crop corn down nearly 6½ percent, but the second crop is slated to be planted on nearly 19.5 million acres, up nearly 15 percent from the current winter crop. Weighing in at about 38.5 million tonnes, Brazil's 2012/13 second crop corn will be up nearly 17 percent from the current big year.
It's early to tell right now, but it looks like the Brazilians are in a position to take advantage of a short U.S. crop—if the weather holds out.
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