Soyabean production in Brazil is forecast to reach a record level of 162M tonnes in the 2023/24 marketing year with planting continuing at pace, according to a report by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The volume would be a 4.5% increase compared to the previous year’s output of 159M tonnes, the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report said.

“Soyabean prices in Brazil are the lowest they have been since pre-pandemic levels, but farmers are still increasing planting area on trend,” the USDA said.

“This is a result of farmers switching from planting first-season corn to soyabeans. Corn prices are also currently low but worse relative to soyabeans.”

The USDA said the higher-than-average planting pace was due to more ideal weather patterns than previous years in the month of September.

Planted area was expected to reach 45.4M ha in 2023/24, up from 43.8 ha in 2022/23, the 11 October report said.

For the first time in several years, the USDA said the cost of production for Brazil’s soyabean farmers was expected to decrease.

Brazil was also set to have another record year for soyabean exports with shipments estimated at 100.2M tonnes, exceeding the estimated volume of 99M tonnes in 2022/23, the report said.

“The forecast is based on increased expectations of ample available supplies and an extremely favourable exchange rate,” the USDA said.

From February 2023-August 2023, Brazil exported 80M tonnes of soyabeans compared to 64M tonnes during the same period the previous year.

This was due to record production, significantly decreased production in Argentina and continued demand from China, the report said.

Soyabeans are the principal crop produced in Brazil, which is the world’s leading soyabean producer and exporter, with most shipments going to China.