Brazil Cuts Soy Crop Estimate

Brazil's Agriculture Ministry has lowered its official forecast for 2003-2004 (Oct/Sept) soybean production to 57.66 million metric tons from a December forecast of 58.76 million tons.

The third production estimate of the season from the National Supply Company (CONAB) is 3.34 million metric tons or about 5.5% below USDA's most recent Brazilian crop estimate of 61 million tons. Brazil's production would still be up 10.8% over last year's 52.03 million ton crop.

Drought conditions in the states of Mato Grosso do Sul and ParanĂ¡ and surplus rain in Brazil's top soybean state of Mato Grosso were blamed for the lower production estimate.

The advance of Asian rust fungus, which affected the yield of medium- and long-cycle beans, was also cited as a factor hurting yields. This year's expected average yield is now seen at 2,737 kilograms/hectare (40.8 bushels per acre), down 2.8% from the previous season.

CONAB raised its estimate of Brazil's total corn production to 46.34 million tons, against 45.44 million tons seen in December and 47.6 million tonnes in 2002-2003.

Editors note: Richard Brock, The Corn and Soybean Digest's Marketing Editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.

To see more market perspectives, visit Brock's Web site at www.brockreport.com.