Apr 18, 2024

2023/24 Brazil Soy 85% Harvested, Good Yields in Rio Grande do Sul

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

Soybeans in Brazil were 85% harvested as of late last week compared to 86% last year and 87.8% average according to Patria AgroNegocios. This represents an advance of 5.8% for the week. The areas remaining to be harvested are Rio Grande do Sul and northeastern Brazil.

In their April Crop Reports, Conab lowered the 2023/24 Brazil soybean estimate by 0.3 million tons to 146.5 million (see later article) while the USDA left the Brazil soybean estimate unchanged at 155.0 million tons. Conab is using a soybean acreage of 45.23 million hectares while the USDA is using a soybean acreage of 45.9 million hectares. The difference is 670,000 hectares or 1.65 million acres. Conab is estimating the nationwide soybean yield at 48.2 bu/ac, while the USDA is estimating the yield at 50.3 bu/ac.

How these differences get resolved in the months ahead remains to be seen. If the USDA is correct, then my production estimate is much too low. If Conab is correct, then my estimate is probably a little too low. Either way, I decided to increase my estimate 2.0 million tons this week to 147.0 million. The main reason for the increase is that the soybean crop in Rio Grande do Sul is ending up much better than anticipated given that the crop was planted very late due to saturated conditions.

Having said that, there is currently a lot of rain in Rio Grande do Sul with localized flooding especially in the western part of the state. Last week, farmers were rushing to harvest as much of their soybeans as possible before the rain moved in, so this needs to be watched.

Mato Grosso - Farmers in Mato Grosso had sold 56% of their 2023/24 soybean production as of the end of March according to the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea). This represents an advance of 9.5% for the month of March. Soybean prices in the state increased 6.7% during March to an average of R$ 106.56 per sack (approximately $9.68 per bushel).

For the 2024/25 soybean crop, farmers had forward contracted 6.8% of their anticipated production by the end of March, which represented an advance of 4.3% for the month. The average selling price during March increased 6.9% to R$ 100.71 per sack (approximately $9.15 per bushel).

Rio Grande do Sul - The soybeans in Rio Grande do Sul were approximately 30% harvested as of late last week. In some areas, farmers are reporting record yields, while in other areas where the rainfall was less abundant, yields are mildly disappointing. For example, in the municipality of Ijui in northern Rio Grande do Sul, the soybean harvest is 70% complete and farmers are reporting yields in the range of 55 sacks per hectare (49.1 bu/ac).

Overall, the soybean crop in Rio Grande do Sul is expected to set a record production. Due to low yields in the state of Parana, Rio Grande do Sul will be the second largest soybean producing state in Brazil, at least for the 2023/24 growing season. Parana is expected to regain the second-place position in the 2024/25 growing season.

Mato Grosso do Sul - Soybeans in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul in southern Brazil are 94% harvested according to the Soybean & Corn Producers Association of Mato Grosso do Sul (Aprosoja/MS). The harvest is most advanced in the southern part of the state at 96.5%, while 83% of the soybeans have been harvested in the northern part of the state.

At the start of the growing season, Aprosoja/MS estimated the statewide soybean yield at 54 sacks per hectare (48.2 bu/ac), but that has now been lowered to 50.5 sacks per hectare (45.0 bu/ac) or a reduction of 19% compared to 2022/23.

Aprosoja/MS is estimating the 2023/24 soybean production in Mato Grosso do Sul at 12.92 million tons, which is down 13.8% from initial expectations.

Farmers in the state planted an estimated 4.00 million hectares of soybeans (9.88 million acres), but 240,000 hectares (593,000 acres) had to be replanted due to poor emergence caused by hot and dry weather during October and November. The combination of late planting and irregular rainfall during the growing season resulted in variable plant development and lower yields.

The soybean harvest is expected to be completed in the last week of April. Farmers in the state have sold 42% of their 2023/24 production, which is slower than average due to low domestic soybean prices. Farmers are hoping for higher prices especially if potential weather concerns develop over the next few months in the U.S.