Estimates of Brazil’s soybean  crop are shrinking a bit due to the late start to planting across parts of the large center-west growing belt and recent dry conditions in the country’s southern growing areas.
In a report dated Dec. 1, the U.S. agricultural attaché in Brasilia trimmed his estimate of Brazilian soybean production to 66.8 million metric tons (mmt) from a previous figure of 67.5 mmt, citing lower planted acreage and yield potential.
“The La Niña weather phenomenon is expected to continue to bring irregular precipitation throughout the growing season and result in low national yields,” the attaché said. “Post’s projection reflects this scenario and incorporates a decrease in previous estimates for production in Rio Grande do Sul as recently announced by regional cooperatives.”
The attaché now sees Brazil’s 2010-2011 soybean plantings at 23.85 million hectares (58.93 million acres), still up 350,000 from last year, but down 400,000 from his previous estimate.
Two private Brazilian analysts also lowered their estimates of the country’s production on Monday, but still see larger production than USDA .
AgroConsult cut its crop estimate to 68.4 mmt from a previous estimate of 69.6 mmt.
The firm cited November dryness in Rio Grande do Sul and a shift in acreage to cotton in the center-west growing belt as the reasons for lowering projected soybean production.
"Early planted soy in Mato Grosso didn't do well. Some farmers, noticing that, replanted those areas with cotton," AgroConsult’s chief analyst Andre Pessoa told journalists after leaving a meeting with agriculture leaders.
Celeres consultancy cut its estimate of Brazil’s 2010-2011 soybean crop to 68.1 mmt from a November estimate of 69.1 mmt citing deteriorating yield potential.
Celeres estimated that 91% of Brazil’s soybean crop had been planted by Friday ahead of the year-earlier pace of 86% and the five-year average of 89%.
Producers in the top soy state of Mato Grosso had planted 99% of their crop. However, the late start to planting in Mato Grosso will mean a later-than-normal harvest, which will extend the main export window for U.S. soybeans at least slightly.
Logistical problems may also complicate movement of Mato Grosso’s crop to market this year so much of the crop will reach maturity in a short period because of the shortened planting season.
The U.S. agricultural attaché noted that Mato Grosso is expecting to harvest 30% of its crop between Feb. 15 and Feb. 20.
CONAB, the supply arm of Brazil’s agriculture ministry is scheduled to release its latest official estimate of Brazilian production on Dec. 9.
Editor’s note: Richard Brock, Corn & Soybean Digest's marketing editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.