Argentine soybean production expected to rise

The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects farmers in Argentina to grow 51.5 million tonnes of soybeans in the coming marketing year, an 8.4 percent increase from the department’s 2020-21 forecast. | Reuters/Martin Acosta photo

Soybean production in Argentina, the world’s third-largest supplier, is expected to push well above 50 million tonnes in 2021-22, according to Benjamin Boroughs, the United States Department of Agriculture attaché in Buenos Aires.

Boroughs estimated that production would rise to 51.5 million tonnes in the coming marketing year, which would be an 8.4 percent increase over the USDA’s official forecast for production in 2020-21. Also, the attaché cut his estimate of the country’s current soybean harvest to 45 million tonnes, to be 2.5 million below the USDA’s call.

The department has yet to issue projections for Argentine soybean production for the coming marketing year.

The impetus for the increased production in 2021-22 was higher prices, according to Boroughs. On the downside, that has led Argentine landlords to increase their rents on farmland to the point where many farmers were beginning to be unsure about planting soybeans. Plus, new varieties of corn that are better able to withstand dry conditions have appealed to farmers.

Of note, about 70 percent of the arable land in Argentina is rented to farmers.

In terms of 2021-22 domestic consumption, Boroughs estimated usage to be 47.6 million tonnes, down more than 1.4 percent from the USDA’s call of 48.3 million for 2020-21. He projected current domestic usage at 47 million tonnes, which is 2.8 percent lower than the official estimate.

He pegged exports at 6.5 million tonnes in 2021-22, about 5.1 percent lower from the department’s forecast for the current marketing year. The attaché is expecting 5.5 million tonnes.

Ending stocks are to jump 43.2 percent, according to Boroughs, who placed the 2021-22 carryover at more than 12.6 million tonnes. While the USDA said ending stocks for the current crop year are to be 8.8 million tonnes, the attaché put them higher at over 10.7 million.

For other oilseeds, Boroughs forecast sunflower production in Argentina at 3.4 million tonnes. That would be a 17.2 percent hike compared to the USDA’s figure of 2.9 million in the current marketing year. Also, he forecast peanut production in 2021-22 to be 1.35 million tonnes, which is the same as the USDA’s projection for 2020-21.

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