Mar 10, 2017

Conab Increases Brazilian Soybean and Corn Estimates

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

The old adage that "big crops get bigger" seems to be playing out in Brazil once again. In their March Crop Report, which was released Thursday morning, Conab increased their estimate of the 2016/17 Brazilian soybean crop to 107.6 million tons, which is 2.1 million tons more than their February estimate. The Brazilian soybean crop is now estimated at 12.1 million tons higher than last year's 95.4 million ton crop.

Brazilian farmers planted 33.8 million hectares of soybeans in 2016/17 (83.4 million acres), which represents an increase of 1.9% compared to last year or 627,000 hectares (1.5 million acres). In southern Brazil the soybean acreage declined 0.8% compared to last year, while in the center-west region the soybean acreage increased 1.4% and in northeastern Brazil the soybean acreage increased 11.7%. The March acreage estimate was slightly higher than the February estimate by a hundred thousand hectares.

The main reason for the higher soybean estimate this month was due to the increased yield estimate. Conab is now estimating the 2016/17 Brazilian soybean yield at 3,176 kg/ha (46.0 bu/ac). The current yield estimate is 10.7% higher than last year's yield of 2,870 kg/ha (41.6 bu/ac). With a few minor exceptions, the weather was generally favorable across most of the soybean producing regions of Brazil.

Farmers in Brazil have harvested approximately 50% of their soybeans, which is ahead of both last year and the five-year average. The largest producing state is Mato Grosso and the soybeans in that state are approximately 78% harvested. Parana is the second largest state and the soybeans in Parana are approximately 46% harvested.

The 2016/17 Brazilian corn crop is now estimated at 88.9 million tons, which represents an increase of 22.4 million (+33.7%) compared to the 66.5 million produced in 2015/16. Conab's March estimate is 1.5 million tons higher than their February estimate. The full-season corn crop is now estimated at 29.3 million tons and the safrinha corn crop is estimated at 59.6 million tons. The full-season corn estimate was increased 0.4 million tons compared to February while the safrinha corn estimate was increased 1.0 million tons compared to February. The full-season corn crop represents 33% of Brazil's total corn crop while the safrinha corn crop represents 67% of Brazil's total corn crop.

The safrinha corn acreage is estimated at 11.2 million hectares (27.6 million acres) or 6.8% more than last year. In the center-west region of Brazil, which includes the states of Mato Grosso, Goias, and Mato Grosso do Sul, the safrinha corn acreage increased 5.6% while it increased 3.8% in southern Brazil.

The big increase in the safrinha corn production came as a result of higher yield estimates. The safrinha corn yield in the center-west region, is estimated at 5,571 kg/ha (85.7 bu/ac), which is 45.7% more than the 3,824 kg/ha produced last year (58.5 bu/ac). The 2015/16 safrinha corn crop was severely impacted by hot and dry conditions resulting from an earlier than normal end to the summer rainy season.