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Argentina Headed for Deep Soybean Decline, Brazil a Record Crop, Gro Predicts

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South America’s biggest soybean crops are off to a mixed start, according to Gro’s forecast models’ latest projections.

Brazil soybean yields are headed for a double-digit jump from last year that will help push production to a record high. But in neighboring Argentina, drought will drive soybean output to the lowest level in five years, Gro’s model predicts. 

Gro’s machine-learning Soybean Yield Forecast Models for both Brazil and Argentina recently began generating near-real-time predictions for the 2023/24 marketing year, which begins in February for Brazil and in April for Argentina, as the two countries’ crops become established. 

Brazil’s drought risks have subsided as the growing season has progressed. Daily soil moisture levels this year have trended above last season, and accumulated rainfall has hovered near the top echelon of the past two decades, giving a boost to crop yields. 

Gro’s Climate Risk Navigator for Agriculture, weighted for Brazil’s soybean planted area, shows the year-over-year improvement in growing conditions, with charts of Gro’s Drought Index and Vegetative Health Index and a range of climate and weather data. View the Navigator display here

Brazil’s increase in planted acreage also is lifting soybean production potential, as can be seen in Gro’s Brazil Soybean Monitor, which includes Gro’s yield forecast model and soybean supply and demand balance sheet. Over the past decade, Brazil’s soybean acreage has increased by more than 50%. 

Argentina, the world’s largest exporter of soybean oil and meal, is facing the worst drought conditions in 20 years, which delayed soybean planting and stunted yields. Gro’s Vegetative Health Index for Argentina soybeans is the lowest so far this century, as shown in this Gro Navigator display

Argentina’s soybean growing areas received some decent rains late last week, and more rain is forecast for later in January. That has given a lift to Gro’s yield forecast, but the model is still indicating that yields will be the lowest since 2018, as shown in Gro’s Argentina Soybeans Monitor.  

Brazil’s forecasted record soybean crop would more than offset lower production predicted for Argentina and this past season’s smaller harvest in the US. Global soybean ending stocks — important for human food, animal feed, and, increasingly, to manufacture biofuels — are projected to increase this year, as seen in this Gro display. The soybean stocks-to-use ratio, a measure of supply availability, also is forecast to tick higher after dropping sharply in recent years.

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