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Brazil is headed for a record soybean crop, Crop Expedition data shows

As the U.S. struggles to finish its 2009 crop growing season, Brazilian farmers are nearing completion of planting their summer 2010 crop. A good planting season and favorable crop-weather has the crop headed toward record production, according to RPC's (A Brazilian communication firm) Crop Expedition through Brazil.

With its major soybean growing states, Mato Grosso and Parana, significantly increasing acreage, a record Brazilian production of 64 million tons could be realized this season, 12% more than last harvest. This information is derived directly from the field, surveyed by the RPC Crop Expedition, an annual private tour of Brazil that shows actual production, ahead of government data.

The Paraná state will produce 13 million tons of soybean and Mato Grosso (West-Center) 18 million tons. The Mato Grosso production is 5 million larger than Parana production (South). Together, both states will represent 50% of the Brazilian soybean crop and 40% of corn production, according to RPC Crop Expedition.

The Mato Grosso farmers are still planting the summer crop. The technicians and journalists of the Crop Expedition estimate now that the state will plant 6.08 million hectares (15.02 million acres), for a production potential of 18.6 million tons. The Parana state is about finishing 4.4 million hectares (10.87 million acres) of planting, with a production potential of 13.1 million tons.

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Mato Grosso producer Elizeu Maggi increases area of soybean to 103,4 thousand acres. (Photo: Jonathan Campos/Gazeta do Povo)

The farmer Elizeu Maggi Schaffer, from Sapezal, Mato Grosso, is increasing his soybean area in 5% from 40 thousand hectares to 42 thousand hectares (from 98.8 to 103.4 thousand acres), . He says that reduction in production costs this year allows bigger investment in technology. Schaffer's estimates is to harvest over than 3,4 thousand kg/ha. The reduction in production cost in Brazil this year is between 20% and 25%, mainly because of the fertilizer’s price, falling this season.

Considering the number of the Crop Expedition for Mato Grosso and Parana, the Brazilian crop can reach 64 million tons of soybean and 52 million tons of corn in this summer crop. It will be the largest crop in history, sustained by the soybean production. The planting is finishing in both two states. In region Center-North the planting follow until February.

Big and New Frontier

In the newest agricultural frontier in Brazil, North Center region, producers are expanding their crops this year again. The increase in the agricultural area is faster than the official statistics (not yet updated this season) can display. The new crops are being implemented at a cost of US$ 340 per acre (in case of pastures) and US$ 440 per acre (in case of Cerrado, native forest that can be legally converted into agricultural land), including soybean production costs.

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Bahia: American producer Michael Gretter has contract to plant more 4 years in Brazil.

The U.S. producer Michael Gretter works every year ten months in that region and two months in the United States. He grows 1.6 thousand hectares (3.95 thousand acres) in Brazil -- a third with corn and two thirds with soybean - and confirms the expansion in the agricultural frontier. Six years in Brazil, he has a lease contract for more four years.

For the Brazilian government, the region has 20 thousand hectares (49 thousand acres) with degraded pastures that could be turned into plantations. This is equivalent to soybean total area in Brazil. Until last year, the region of Maranhao, Tocantins, Piaui and Bahia (MATOPIBA) planted only 5.8 thousand hectares (14 thousand acres) -- with corn, soybean and twelve other types of grain -- and produced 11.3 million tons of grains per harvest - 8% of the national total.

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Piaui producer Wilson Marcolini spreads fertilizers in the field in new area of production. (Photo: Valterci Santos/Gazeta do Povo)

Wilson Marcolini, a producer from Piauí, opened the Cerrado and expanded his area by 25% to 840 hectares (2 thousand acres). He says it is necessary to expand production because the profit margin is becoming smaller. In the state of Tocantins, Alexsandro Farias increased Agricultural Trombini's planting by 22% to 2.3 thousand hectares (5.6 thousand acres), converting pasture to crop. The soil is sandy, but the productivity reaches 2.8 tonnes per hectare (1.13 tons per acre) from the second year cultivation, he says.

Giovani Ferreira and Jose Rocher are agricultural journalists with the nationwide newspaper, Gazeta Do Povo, in Brazil.

As the U.S. struggles to finish its 2009 crop growing season, Brazilian farmers are nearing completion of planting their summer 2010 crop. A good planting season and favorable crop-weather has the crop headed toward record production, according to RPC's (A Brazilian communication firm) Crop Expedition through Brazil.

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