Nation & World

Brazil to pass U.S. as largest soy producer

The South American nation is expected to increase its lead in coming years

Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette

A farmer sprays a soybean field near Central City.
Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette A farmer sprays a soybean field near Central City.

SAO PAULO — Brazil will surpass the United States as the largest producer of soybeans this year, taking over the top ranking for the first time in history, oilseeds crusher group Abiove said on Friday.

The United States is expected to harvest 116.48 million metric tons of soybeans later on in 2018, falling short of Brazil’s estimated collection of 117 million metric tons for its crop year that is just drawing to a close, Abiove said.

It cited U.S. Department of Agriculture figures released on Thursday.

Brazil, already the world’s largest soybean exporter, is expected to expand this lead in the coming years thanks to its unique ability to expand planted area, Abiove said.

“The Americans already are using the maximum possible (area),” said André Nassar, president of Abiove.

Brazilian farmers have just about finished harvesting their soy for the 2017-18 crop year, which kicked off in September, as the United States is just beginning to plant its 2018 crop.

Private consultancy figures place Brazil even further ahead this year, drawing near to the record 2017 U.S. crop of 119.5 million metric tons.

Abiove itself revised its soybean crop estimate to 118.4 million metric tons on Friday, up 0.9 percent from its own April forecast.

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Brazil’s toppling of the United States as the world’s largest soybean producer stems from logistical improvements and gains from planting second corn as a rotation crop — all of which increase farmer yields, Abiove said.

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