Private Brazil crop analytical firm Safras and Mercado put a new benchmark on Brazil soybean production at the end of the week. The projection from this firm is 106 million metric tons -- a new record and well-above the 96.50 mmt crop estimate for the 2016 harvest. The Safras projection is 4 mmt above the latest USDA figure in its World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report.
The big reason for this hefty number is definitely more favorable crop weather than a year ago. The 2015-16 crop year in Brazil was one marked by very dry conditions in the central and northeastern areas of the country. This year, the situation is much different. Portions of the far northeast are still dry -- the result of a multi-year drought -- but, otherwise, precipitation graphics feature a lot of blue and green, indicating generous rainfall. That certainly holds true in the largest soybean-producing state of Mato Grosso. Much of Mato Grosso has had rainfall totals of well in excess of 40 inches (500 millimeters) since September. It's a much more favorable soil moisture situation this season than last.
Brazil corn production in 2016 was more than 20% below the previous year because of drought.
Here's how Mato Grosso soybean grower Ricardo Arioli Silva described the rain situation this season in an e-mail to DTN in early December, which I shared initially with participants at the DTN-Progressive Farmer Ag Summit:
"Our soy fields look better than last year. We had a little drought again, but nothing compared to last year. In Mato Grosso, the planting season was earlier than normal. The next corn crop will also be planted earlier than last year, which means more rain for a good crop."
The next week keeps the rain coming in Brazil, with from 1 to 4 inches of rain indicated on forecast maps. Soil moisture does not look like a problem going into the last half of December.
End-of-season conditions could bring some problems to Brazil, however. Silva noted that "We will harvest most of our beans in January and February, which means during the rainy months; always a risk."
However, that possible hurdle is a long way removed from stress caused by dryness and drought issues.
Bryce Anderson can be reached at email@example.com
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