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Brazil soybeans could overtake U.S. by 2015

08/05/2013 @ 4:48pm

Brazil could consistently grow more soybeans than the U.S. as soon as 2015, the head of soy growers' association Aprosoja said Monday.

Brazil is expected to produce 85 million metric tons of soybeans in the 2013-14 growing season, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, compared with 93.1 million tons for the U.S. In the 2012-13 season, the U.S. produced 82.1 million tons, compared with 82 million for Brazil.

"We're near a balance point right now," said Carlos Favaro, president of Aprosoja, which represents growers in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso. "And we have the capacity to double the area planted with soy in Mato Grosso from 8 million hectares (19.8 million acres) to 16 million without cutting down a single tree."

Farmers from Mato Grosso state grow about 30% of Brazil's soybeans, Mr. Favaro said.

Brazil's inadequate transportation infrastructure is slowing the pace of growth in production because farmers face high costs to get their harvests to export markets, he said. Even with the soy harvest growing more slowly than in recent years, Brazil should overtake the U.S. by 2020 at the latest, he added.

It costs U.S. farmers $10 to $18 per ton to ship soybeans about 2000 kilometers (1200 miles) down the Mississippi and other rivers, compared with $150 to $170 per ton for Brazilian farmers to move soy beans the same distance, mostly by road, Mr. Favaro said.

"Our transport is the most expensive in the world," he said.

Write to Jeffrey T. Lewis at Jeffrey.lewis@wsj.com
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 05, 2013 17:42 ET (21:42 GMT)
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