Dec 28, 2018

2018/19 Soybean Prospects in Paraguay, Uruguay, and Bolivia

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

While the soybean crops Brazil and Argentina get most of the attention in South America, farmers in Paraguay, Uruguay, and Bolivia also produce soybeans, but on a much smaller scale.

Paraguay - Soybeans also being impacted by Dry Weather - The soybeans in eastern Paraguay are struggling with the same type of weather as in western Parana. The weather has been hot and dry since mid-November and early reports out of Paraguay indicate disappointing yields. The earlier planted soybeans have been impacted the most because the crop was filling pods during the adverse weather. The later planted soybeans could still recuperate if rainfall would return to the region.

During the 2017/18 growing season, Paraguay produced 10 million tons of soybeans, but the production in 2018/19 is expected to be lower than last year. Paraguay exported 4 million tons of soybeans to Argentina in 2018 so that crushers in Argentina could maintain their operations. The 2017/18 soybean crop in Argentina was severely impacted by the worst drought in recent memory.

Uruguay - Soybean Planting in Uruguay slowed by Wet Weather - While farmers in Brazil are confronting dry weather, it has been just the opposite in Uruguay where December could be the wettest in 100 years. The result is a delay in planting the double crop soybeans after wheat. Additionally, some areas will probably also have to be replanted. Soybeans in Uruguay could still be planted until the end of December or early January.

As a result, the soybean acreage in Uruguay is now uncertain. I had anticipated that the soybean acreage would increase from 1.09 million hectares in 2017/18 to 1.25 million hectares in 2018/19, but now I am not sure. The forecast is calling for more rainfall in Uruguay, so it is possible that not all the intended soybeans will be planted.

Uruguay also suffered from a severe drought in 2017/18 and as a result, soybean production fell to just 1.3 million tons in 2017/18.

Bolivia - Soybean Production OK for Now - Almost all the soybeans in Bolivia are produced in the Santa Cruz region of eastern Bolivia, which is right across the border from western Mato Grosso, Brazil. The weather in eastern Bolivia has been OK up until now and the country is expected to produce a crop similar to last year when they produced 2.6 million tons of soybeans.

The longer range forecast may not be as favorable for Bolivia. In their three-month summer forecast, the Brazilian National Weather Service forecasted that there could be some dryness developing in western Mato Grosso by February. That is right across the border from the soybeans in Bolivia, so there is a possibility that the weather during the end of the growing season may be less than desirable.