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Brazilian crop agency Conab has lowered its February domestic corn and soyabean production estimates from the previous month’s forecast due to the impact of El Niño weather effects on crops, World Grain reported from a Reuters analysis of the agency’s data.

Conab lowered Brazil’s 2023/24 soyabean crop forecast from 155.2M tonnes to 149.4M tonnes.

Total corn production was estimated at 113.7M tonnes, down from the earlier forecast of 117.6M tonnes.

If realised, the latest soyabean production estimate would be a drop of 3.4% compared to the 2022/23 cycle, according to Conab, which had projected Brazil’s soyabean harvest at 162M tonnes at the start of the season.

Lack of rainfall at the start of the season in Brazil’s centre-west, southeast and Matopiba regions, followed by irregular and unevenly spread rainfall, had impacted production, the agency said.

Conab cited dry spells lasting more than 20 days in some areas, in addition to high temperatures, as factors affecting the soyabean and first-corn production in central Brazil.

First-corn production, which this season would represent about 21% of total output, had also faced excess rainfall in the South of Brazil, Conab said.

Second-corn production, which is done after soyabeans are harvested in the same areas, is expected to drop by nearly 14% from last year, to about 88M tonnes, on a reduced planted area and weather risk, according to Conab data.

The world’s leading soyabean producer and exporter – after overtaking the USA in those categories in recent years - most of Brazil’s exports were expected to go to the world’s biggest importer, China, the report said.

Brazil overtook the USA as the world’s largest corn exporter following last year’s record harvest, World Grain wrote on 13 February.