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Brazil poised to reap record 2023 soy crop -government agency

By Ana Mano

SAO PAULO, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Brazil is set to plant its biggest soybean crop to date, as farmers in the world's largest supplier of the oilseed get ready to sow a larger area starting in September.

In its first forecast for the next crop, Brazil's food supply and statistics agency Conab said on Wednesday that the soy harvest will grow by 21% to a record 150.36 million tonnes.

Aside from an expected 3.54% area expansion to 42.4 million hectares (104.772 million acres), Conab said soy yields are also likely to recover after a drought spoiled part of the old crop.

The numbers underscore Brazil's prominent role as a large global grain supplier at a time when nations grapple with food inflation and shortages due to the war in Ukraine, and farmers face higher fertilizer and pesticides costs.

"Despite the increase in production costs, the crops still have good liquidity and profitability for the Brazilian farmer," Conab President Guilherme Ribeiro said in a statement.

"The important variable now is climate," Guilherme Bastos, agriculture policy secretary, said during a presentation of the fresh projections.

A rise in Brazil's soybean output will boost exports to an estimated 92 million tonnes, representing a 22.2% rise from the 2021/2022 harvest and record, Conab said.

Farmers also are looking at a big corn crop of 125.5 million tonnes, Conab said, citing potential growth in fields planted with second corn, which are sowed after soybeans are harvested.

Brazil's second corn represents 70% to 75% of production in a given year, much of it sold on export markets in the second half, when Brazil competes with U.S. corn exporters in global markets.

Brazil could export 44.5 million tonnes of its new corn, also a record, Conab said.

The positive outlook for soy and corn production will boost Brazil's total grain crop to 308 million tonnes in the 2022/2023 cycle, a 14% rise from the previous one, Conab said.

(Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Mark Porter and Bill Berkrot)

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