Soyabean production in Brazil’s key producing states is expected to fall by 5-30% as a result of drought conditions, according to a 22 February Global Agricultural Information Network report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Output for 2018/19 was forecast at 115.5M tonnes, down from a record 120.3M tonnes a year ago, with yields declining to 3.2 tonnes/hectare.

“Scarce rains and hotter-than-normal temperatures impacted the majority of the key producing areas in the last several months,” the USDA said. “The drought-like conditions began in November in the south of the country in the second largest producing state of Paraná, as well as in the southern states of Mato Grosso do Sul and São Paulo.”

Soyabean producers’ association Aprosoja estimated in late January that most states would see production fall by between 5% and 30%.

The USDA also cut its soyabean export forecasts for Brazil in 2018/19 to 70M tonnes, a 16% reduction from the 84M tonnes projected to be shipped in 2017/18.

There had been strong demand for Brazilian soyabeans as a result of the trade war between China and the USA, according to World Grain.

“In December 2018, about 97% of Brazil’s total soyabean exports were destined for China, surpassing the record share of 96% that went to China in November and 91% in September.”

In the same four-month time frame from 2014-2017, the average figure was 67%