Jul 05, 2022

2022/23 Soybean Acreage in Brazil to Increase 3%

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

A Reuters survey of eight analysts in Brazil estimated that the farmers in Brazil would increase their 2022/23 soybean acreage by 3%. Despite higher production costs compared to last year, the strong commodity prices are expected to encourage farmers to plant more soybeans.

The average estimate was that the 2022/23 soybean acreage in Brazil would be 42.2 million hectares (104.2 million acres). Margins for the 2022/23 soybean crop will be less than in 2021/22 due to the higher costs, but farmers are still expected to generate good profits in 2022/23.

Most of the expanded acreage will be the result of the conversion of degraded pastures to row crop production with some additional land clearing in northeastern Brazil. There was a concern that fertilizer supplies for the 2022/23 crop could be limited due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, but those concerns have now lessened.

Thus far this year, fertilizer imports have exceeded those of 2021 and Russia has promised Brazil that they would supply all the fertilizers that originally ordered from Russia. Prices are much higher, but they will get the fertilizers they need. Russia and Belarus are Brazil's two largest fertilizer suppliers.

During the first few years after the conversion from pastures to row crops, additional fertilizers are required to improve the soil's fertility because traditional pastures in Brazil are generally infertile. Ranchers in Brazil generally do not apply much fertilizers to the highly leached cerrado soils of central Brazil. When these areas are converted to row crop production, they need annual applications of fertilizers to maintain a high level of fertility.

One concern for the 2022/23 soybean crop in Brazil is that La Nina is still present in the Pacific Ocean and it is expected to maintain a weak to moderate strength at least until the fall. A La Nina generally results in a delayed start to the summer rains and a delayed start to soybean planting. If that turns out to be the case, that would be three planting seasons in a row for Brazilian farmers.