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Brazil is forecast to produce a record soyabean crop in 2022/23 with better-than-expected yields for early harvested fields, according to a report by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

The USDA estimated production at 153M tonnes based on a yield of 3.5 tonnes/ha.

However, producers also reported a lack of sunshine between rain periods, creating a “winter-like” weather pattern, the USDA said in the 1 March report.

“If this continues, soyabean yields have the potential to significantly decrease because the soyabean becomes too moist and does not have the ability to dry. This leads to losses in the quality of the soyabean due to mould, as well as not being able to export the soyabean due to having extremely high moisture content,” the USDA said.

The USDA maintained its soyabean export forecast at 97M tonnes, based on favourable production, anticipated decreased production on the international market, particularly from Argentina, and returning demand from China.

With China’s “voracious” appetite for Brazilian soyabeans, the USDA expected stocks to remain at very low levels, hovering around 0.5% of domestic supply for the 2021/22 marketing year, and even lower in 2022/23, the USDA said.

“Historically, this is the lowest level that stocks have ever hit in Brazil,” the USDA said.

Although the government was concerned with the scarcity of beans on the domestic market and the consequent impact on inflation, the USDA did not expect any export restrictions to be introduced, with traders and producers instead focusing on sales to take advantage of rising prices.