Brazil grain exports

Brazil an agricultural powerhouse

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The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) has reduced its estimate for the country’s grain harvest in 2021 to 251.7 million tons, down 1% compared to 2020. According to a new Systematic Survey of Agricultural Production (LSPA) released on Thursday (Sept. 9), the volume is 1.7% lower compared to the previous projection.

LSPA provides estimates on planted areas, harvested areas, amount produced and average yield of selected products, based on the criteria of social and economic importance for Brazil. It not only follows up each crop investigated in the calendar year of reference, from the intention to plant up to the end of the harvest, yet also the forecast of the harvest in the coming year, for which the months of October, November and December are surveyed.

Before the 2020 harvest, the IBGE calculates a 10.1% increase in soy production, to 133.8 million tons (a new record), and a 15.5% decrease in corn- whose crop was hit by unfavorable weather – to 87.3 million tons.

On Monday (Sept.13), agribusiness consultancy Safras & Mercado estimated that the sale of farmers’ 2021 second corn crop in the Latin American country reached 70.1% of the estimated output, up from 62.6% the same period a year ago.

The first corn crop in Brazil is planted during September-December and harvested in February-May, while the second crop is planted in February-March and harvested June-July.

Brazil’s second corn crop represents about 70% of production each year and is estimated at 55.7 million tonnes for the 2021 season, according to Safras.

Meanwhile, planting of Brazil’s new corn crop reached 16.7% of the estimated area through Friday (Sept. 10).

Brazil corn prices have been high for almost a year now. Corn, used as livestock feed, is on high demand in Brazil, home to some of the world’s largest pork and poultry processors.

Last month,  National Supply Company (Conab) in its first forecast for the coming grain season said Brazil is expected to harvest a record grain crop of 289.6 million tonnes in 2021/2022, driven by higher soybean and corn production in the season starting September. The government agency forecast Brazil’s soybean crop growing by 3.9% to 141.3 million tonnes and its corn output rising 33.8% to 116.0 million tonnes.

Soybean Production Brazil
(Source: USDA and MAPA)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service post in Brasilia sees Brazil 2021/22 soybean crop at 143.5 million tonnes. “For 2021/22, Post forecasts soybean planted area at 40.3 million hectares (ha), and production at 143.5 million metric tons (MMT), based on a yield of 3.56 mt per ha (hectare).”

Joana Colussi and Gary Schnitkey at the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics
University of Illinois, USA argue that Brazil will  retain its position as the largest soybean producer over the next decade.

“In the 2020/21 season, Brazil produced a record of 4,994 million bushels of soybeans, up 8.9% from last season’s record crop of 4,587 million bushels, according to data from the National Supply Company (Conab). The area harvested this season is also at a record of 95.16 million acres, up 4.2% from last season. The growth Brazilian acres are expected to be continue higher than the United States and Argentina, two of the other major producers of soybeans. In addition, recent advances in logistics, such as on the railroad called the North-South, should create opportunities to improve competitiveness in the transportation sector” they wrote in July.

Between 1996 and 2006 the total value of Brazil’s crops rose from 23 billion reais ($23 billion) to 108 billion reais, or 365%, according to The Economist. This extraordinary growth shows no signs of slowing with Brazil-the world’s 4th largest producer of food and 8th biggest economy-taking a leading role in the future of agriculture.