2009/10 Record Soybean Production Aided by Record Yields in Southern Brazil
Post raised 2009/10 estimated soybean production to 67.25 mmt based on national average 2.9 metric tons per hectare (mt/ha) yields and an increased planted area of 23.2 million hectares. Increases resulted from favorable El Nino weather conditions, increased planted area substitution from corn to soybeans in southern Brazil and record yields in southern Brazil.
In the Center-West and Northeast regions, potential yields were not reached with smaller bean size reported due to varying factors during the growing season including high humidity, reduced sunlight, increased disease and pests. In addition, scattered wet harvest conditions throughout Brazil have affected yields and quality. Yields in the Center-West appear also to have been negatively affected by adulterated fertilizer where studies conducted indicate package specifications were not met.
Outlook 2010/2011: Return to Historical Record Area Planted for Soybeans
Post forecasts 2010/11 soybean planted area will return to the 2004/05 record of 23.3 million hectares, a 4 percent increase in planted area over 2009/10. Production in 2010/11 is estimated at 67.5 mmt based on an average trend yield increase to 2.9 mt/ha. Depressed future price signals due to estimated high end-stocks affect soybeans and alternative crops; such as, corn and edible beans, with the exception being cotton. A very limited amount of soybean acreage will be converted to sugarcane; however, this will be more than offset by an increase in soybean area in the Northeast region. Nonetheless, soybeans will remain the favored crop due to its market liquidity. In the Center-West, cotton area will expand in 2010/11; however, mainly during the second crop cycle or “safrinha”, following the harvest of early-maturing soybeans.
Expansion of production area is limited by infrastructure deficiencies and lower returns this year. In the Center-West region, the cost to rehabilitate degraded pasture soils and convert to crop land is estimated at over US$850/ha. Post travel to the Mapito region (adjoining area of Maranhao, Piaui, and Tocantins) indicates it is the only area seen to expand in 2010/11 based on long-term strategic planning of firms in the region.
Average yields in Brazil continue to improve with rapid adoption in the latest production and machine technology and development of better soil management techniques. States with shorter rainfall seasons utilize large-scale crop rotation schemes in order to maximize profits while seeking to retain water moisture levels. Post travel to Mato Grosso do Sul revealed that the state has begun integrated crop and pasture production comprised of two seasons of soybeans each followed by a “safrinha” double cropping of corn with brachiaria grass allowing 60 days cattle grazing after the corn harvest. The third season soybean crop is followed by direct sowing of brachiaria grass for 18-24 months of cattle grazing. Integrated eucalyptus production with 12-20 meter spacing coupled with crop to pasture rotation “agrosilvipastoril” is also occurring with three years of soybean crop followed by three or more years of pasture. Demand has increased significantly for eucalyptus as a fuel source for steel mills and other industries as native forests are reaching their harvest limits.
Brazil’s tropical agro climate continues to demand improved pest and disease management as producers strive to increase productivity while facing higher costs. Lack of crop rotation practices in the North and Northeast regions has amplified disease and pest occurrences such as, nematode, white fly and caterpillar. From the Center-West to southern Brazil, soybean rust appears manageable, having less affect on yields, but requiring significant investments in agrochemical applications.
Brazil continues to be deficit in producing fertilizer to meet its needs. Studies show that Brazil’s dependence on imports reaches 74, 49, and 92 percent for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, respectively. There has been discussion of forming a State-run fertilizer company or new regulatory agency to address import dependency and the need for increased competition in the sector. According to the National Fertilizer Association (ANDA), fertilizer deliveries totaled 22.4 mmt in 2009 level with 2008. Total annual imports of fertilizer in 2009 were down nearly 30 percent from 2008 and national production was also down 5 percent. In 2009/10, the cost of fertilizer was estimated at 12 sacks (60 kg) of soybeans per hectare. For 2010/11 fertilizer usage is expected to decrease slightly as prices for fertilizer have increased over 20 percent in the past month and continue to rise.
Biotechnology adoption in soybeans continues to climb above 65 percent, but at a slower pace given internal and external market demand to produce niche non-biotech derived products. The development of region-specific biotechnology soybean varieties is advancing with double-stacked Round-up Ready and rust tolerant varieties expected within two years.
Poor Logistics Continue to Reduce Profitability and Reign-in Expansion
High transportation costs continue to significantly affect producers’ profitability with scheduled infrastructure improvements still outpaced by potential growth in production. The majority of soybeans are still transported to market and/or export via roadway, with slow progress being made in multimodal transport systems. The record 2009/10 harvest has seen truck rates increase 25-50 percent as demand outstripped supply, accounting for 50 percent of the value of soybeans in the Center-West region. Post travel to the Center-West and Sao Luis, MA revealed projects underway that will redirect soybeans produced in these regions to northern export corridors. The Center-West will be aided by the projected completion of the interstate highway BR-163 to the Port of Santarem within two years. The completion of the North-South Railway portion operated by Vale mining company is expected by September 2010. In addition, the Port of Itaqui, Sao Luis, MA is soliciting federal funding through the Program to Accelerate the Economy (PAC) to expand grain exporting capacity and storage under a four-phase program (TEGRAM) with the first phase to be completed by March 2012. The first phase will expand the Port’s grain export capacity to 7.5 mmt per year, compared to 1.75 mmt exported in 2009, and add 125,000 mt of storage capacity. Each subsequent TEGRAM phase calls for an additional 125,000 mt of storage capacity for a total of 500,000 mt tons in addition to the existing 193,000 mt storage capacity associated with Vale’s port terminal. More cost-effective railroad and waterway systems are still projected to take 10-15 years.
Soybeans remain the primary oilseed produced in Brazil with 32,900 mmt or nearly 50 percent of 2009/10 production destined for processing. Brazil maintains ample processing capacity at 54.5 mmt in 2009/10, a 7.4 percent increase over last year. The inauguration of new high-capacity crushing plants in the Center-West region brought Brazil’s 2009/10 crushing capacity to over 165,000 mt per day. Twenty-five percent of plants possess a processing capacity over 3,000 mt/day and nearly 50 percent of plants operate with 1,500-3,000 mt/day capacity.
Consumption of soy-based drinks continues to rise in Brazil with a 14 percent increase in the value of the market from 2008 to 2009.
According to Brazil’s National Animal Feed Industry Syndicate (Sindiracoes), total feed demand in Brazil is expected to increase at least 6 percent in 2010, on top of a 5 percent increase in 2009. In 2009, corn accounted for 55 percent of total animal feed, while soybean meal accounted for 16.5 percent. Soybean meal demand for 2010 is estimated at 11.2 mmt compared to 10.5 mmt in 2009. Poultry feed rations utilize the highest ratio of soybean meal at 18 percent, demanding 5.2 mmt in 2009.
Cottonseed meal utilized in dairy and beef cattle feed rations increased 9 percent from 2008 to 2009. The dairy industry utilized twice as much cottonseed meal as the beef cattle industry with less than 3 percent being used in other animal feed rations. Cottonseed demand for 2010 is estimated at 1.45 mmt compared to 1.33 mmt in 2009.
According to the Brazilian Association of Vegetable Oil Industries (ABIOVE), Brazil’s soybean processing, refining, and bottling capacity continues to grow. Total domestic soybean oil consumption is estimated at 5.1 mmt with 1.7 mmt or nearly one-third destined for the growing biodiesel industry.
On January 1, 2010 the mandated blend requirement for biodiesel was increased to 5 percent (B5), three years ahead of initial scheduled targets under the National Program for the Production and Use of Biodiesel (PNPB), launched in 2004. Brazil currently has 64 biodiesel refineries in operation with an estimated 4.6 billion liters of production capacity. Production will reach an estimated 2.35 billion liters in 2010 under the B5 blending mandate based on estimated consumption. Projected increases in consumption will require an additional 100,000 mt of soybean oil per year under a maintained B5 blend requirement. Soybean oil accounts for 75-80 percent of feedstock followed by animal fats (12-15 percent) and cottonseed oil (3-5 percent), with the remaining including other crops such as castor bean and oil palm.
On-going pilot projects in the Center-West region are analyzing the viability and profitability of producing high-yielding desert-type oilseed crops as a second crop to long-season soybeans. These oilseeds include: crambe, camelina, safflower, and castor bean. The high-value oil derivatives have unique properties and are envisioned to fill a future niche for bio-friendly lubricants in the airline industry.
|Brazilian Industrial Capacity for Biodiesel Production|
|State||# of Mills||Industrial Capacity (m3/yr)|
|Mato Grosso do Sul||2||14,760|
|Rio de Janeiro||1||21,600|
|Rio Grande do Sul||4||863,038.8|
Soybean exports in Marketing Year (MY) 2008/09 reached a record of 28 mmt. Brazil also set a monthly export record of nearly 6.2 mmt in June 2009. Post estimates a new record of 28.5 mmt MY 2009/10 in soybean exports based on continued strong demand from China. However, logistical challenges due to the record crop size have slowed the export pace so far this year.
Post forecasts a new record in exports of 28.75 mmt in 2010/11 based on strengthening world demand.
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