Safras Raises Brazil Soy Crop Estimate

The private Brazilian agricultural consultant Safras & Mercados on Friday raised its estimate of Brazil's 2002-2003 soybean crop by 3% to 49.7 million metric tons.

In July, Safras forecast production at 48.2 million tons. USDA currently pegs Brazilian production at 48 million tons

The new Safras estimate represents an increase of 18% from last year's crop, which it pegged at 42.1 million tons. Attractive world soy prices and a weak local currency should drive Brazil's largest jump in year-to-year soy production in over a decade, according to new data released by Safras on Friday.

New-crop soybean plantings should reach 17.7 million hectares (43.7 million acres), up 8.5% from last season's 16.3 million hectares, said Safras.

Based on the planting projection, production was calculated

assuming an average yield of 2,804 kilograms per hectare compared with 2,582 kg/ha last season.

Dry conditions over much of Brazil's soybean belt have slowed planting of the new crop and will likely lead to the replanting of some fields, but the lack of rain is not yet critical.

"There is still a fairly large (planting) window. It just means there will be a more concentrated planting and harvest periods, which carries greater risks," Safras' soy specialist Flavio Franca told Reuters News Service.

The Brazilian meteorologists Somar have forecast that heavy widespread rains will reach the soybean belt next Wednesday and will linger for several days.

Editors note: Richard Brock, 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.