Market News & Headlines >> Brazil Slashes Soy Crop Estimate

Brazil’s agriculture ministry on Wednesday confirmed market speculation that adverse February weather took a toll on the country’s soybean crop, lowering its production forecast by more than 5%. 

CONAB, the ministry’s supply arm pegged 2013/14 production at 85.45 million metric tons, down from 90.01 million in February. The forecast was near the low end of private estimates and more than 3.0 million tons below USDA’s latest forecast issued on Monday, indicating USDA will lower its world soybean carryout forecast again in April.

The drop in production was due to reduced yields as CONAB raised its estimate of planted soybean acreage slightly from February. Dryness hurt soybean yields in a number of producing states, while wet conditions were a problem in the top growing state of Mato Grosso.

The Brazilian soybean harvest has surpassed the halfway point, with progress estimated by Brazilian analyst Safras & Mercado at 52% as of March 7 versus 48% a year earlier.

CONAB also cut its estimate of Brazilian corn production, but only by about 280,000 metric tons, to 75.18 million, 5.2 million tons above USDA’s estimate. Some private estimates of the Brazilian corn crop are below USDA’s forecast. Corn acreage is down due to lower corn prices and heavy rains in Brazil’s center-west crop belt during February slowed planting of the winter corn crop there.