Attache Boosts Argentine Soy Estimate

The U.S. agricultural attache in Buenos Aires has raised his forecast for Argentina’s 2002-2003 soybean crop by another 4.8%. That’s due to profitable prices and farmers' ability to find sufficient capital.

The ag attache now forecasts that Argentina's soybean crop will hit 32.5 million metric tons, versus a previous estimate of 31 million tons. USDA's October supply/demand update also pegged the Argentine crop at 31 million tons.

That new estimate would represent an 8% increase over 2001-2002 production, which the attache also revised upward to 30 million tons from 29.5 million.

"Overall, excellent expected returns have created incentives to plant additional land to crops. This, combined with access to sufficient working capital, has allowed for increased area and production estimates, particularly in soybeans," the attache said in a report dated Nov. 1 and released last week.

The attache raised his estimate of harvested area from 12 million to 12.3 million hectares (30.4 million acres). Yields for the upcoming crop are expected to maintain the levels of last year.

Input and fertilizer use is not expected to be affected by Argentina's poor overall economic situation. Instead, producers are likely to optimize use of inputs to increase production, the attache said.

As a result of the higher production estimate, the attache also raised his estimate of Argentina's 2002-2003 soybean exports by 550,000 tons to a record 9.15 million tons. That would be an increase of more than 18% over 2001-2002 exports.

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.