Soyabean production in Argentina is forecast to surge by almost 150% in the 2023/24 marketing year due to optimum rainfall during the planting season, according to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) data reported by World Grain.

The USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)’s report forecast Argentina’s output at 50.5M tonnes this season, compared with 20.5M in 2022/23, a year when drought cut yields and reduced planted area.

Last year the agency had lowered its soyabean crushing estimate to 26M tonnes “due to decreased export and the lowest crush operation rates in decades”, the 15 January report said.

This year’s crushing total was expected to surge to 40M tonnes.

If realised, soyabean production this season would be the highest since 2018/19 when the country harvested 55.8M tonnes of the oilseed, World Grain wrote.

The El Niño weather pattern had ended the country’s worst drought in more than 60 years, the USDA said.

“Higher-than-average rainfall came to much of the major growing areas beginning in early November and continuing through December,” the USDA added.

The agency had increased its soyabean planted area projection by 800,000ha to 17.2Mha due to improved weather conditions and “potential economic policy changes by the new government that will encourage exports”.

The USDA estimated Argentine 2023/24 soyabean exports at 6M tonnes, more than three times higher than the amount shipped the previous year.