Agricultural freelance reporter based in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
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Brazilians Ready Planters for New Soybean Season

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil ( may sound surprising for some in the U.S., but farmers in Brazil will increase the soybean area and expect a new record crop, according to producers attending this week's ag expo in the southern part of the country.

For the 2014/15 crop season that starts this month, Celeres consultancy puts an early forecast of production of 91.35 million tons of soybeans. This would be a 6% hike compared to the current crop.


South American Soybean Production Potential Threatened

Compared to North America, the countries of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay are seen as having the advantages of growing multiple seasons of soybeans. Several regions in those countries have the luxury of growing two crops per year or more because of hotter weather.
But that may the exact same thing that threatens South America's soybean growing potential in the future, agronomists say.

Argentina's Farmers Sit on Wall of Soybeans

Argentina has sold approximately US$ 10.1 billion in grains so far this year, according to data from the Center of Cereal Exporters of the country. But the country's farmers are still sitting on nearly twice that amount, with no intentions of selling anytime soon.

In stocks, there is an approximate value of US$ 19 billion in soybeans, and the sales of that amount are not seen on the horizon. 


U.S. Soybean Imports Seen Slowing

Though tight U.S. old-crop stocks still have the attention of the market, favorable new-crop growing weather and the U.S. soybean export infrastructure are expected to slow imports this summer.

An unusual move from China surprised the market in March, when that country's importers canceled 600,000 tons of Brazilian soybean shipments. As a result, an executive of a major company started to sell soybeans planted in Brazil to some U.S.-based players. And at the same time, the Chinese demand for soybeans shrank from 30% to 20% because of epidemic bird flu cases in the country.


Brazil's On-Farm Grain Storage Builds

Brazilian farmers have accessed a total of US$ 1.8 billion as part of a storage plan financing the construction of silos and warehouses in 2013-2014. Yesterday, as part of the Brazil Farm Bill, or Plano Safra as it is called here, the government announced a total of R$ 156.1 billion (US$ 70.4 billion) on credit lines available to farmers. Of those, nearly US$ 2.3 billion would be available to farmers and cereal traders to increase storage capacity. On the other hand, the average interest rate paid by farmers increased 1 percentage point to 6.5% a year.


Argentina Soybeans Smuggled to Avoid Taxes

How are less productive farmers able to survive? In northern provinces of Argentina, the answer is smuggling to Paraguay and, to a lesser extent, to Brazil. In Paraguay or Brazil, these soybeans are declared as locally produced.