The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has revised its forecast for Argentina’s drought-hit soyabean crop downwards to 21.25M tonnes for the 2022/23 marketing year in its latest Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report.

Lower-than-expected yields had pushed its current estimate 3.75M tonnes below its official projection in the 12 July World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, the USDA said.

“[The] estimate is based on interviews with local market participants, traders and farmers who report that final yields were lower than anticipated,” the USDA said in its 19 July Argentina: Oilseeds and Products Update.

“[The] lower production estimate is reflected in lower expectations for crush[ing], domestic consumption and ending stocks.”

Soyabean crushing was estimated at 29.5M tonnes in 2022/23 but was expected to rebound to 41M tonnes in 2023/24. Domestic consumption totalled 35.1M tonnes in 2022/23 but was expected to reach 47.3M the following season.

Argentina’s soyabean imports last season were expected to total 11M tonnes, dropping to 4M tonnes in 2023/24.

“Soyabean sales have been driven primarily by government programmes offering exchange rate incentives, and farmers are holding remaining soyabeans in anticipation of similar future programmes. Precipitation levels have improved in recent months across much of the growing region,” the USDA said.

Looking ahead, the USDA expected soyabean production to recover in 2023/24 to 50.5M tonnes from a planted area of 16.9M ha based on a return to normal weather patterns.

“After several years of drought, Argentine farmers are hoping that an El Niño weather pattern will lead to more rainfall in the coming year … rains have improved in much of the productive regions of the country, [al]though the Province of Cordoba has continued to experience drought,” the USDA said.