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Brazil Soybean Farmers Brace for More Crop Losses - Aprosoja

By Ana Mano

SAO PAULO, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Brazilian soy farmers face the prospect of more crop failures, a grain growers group said on Friday, as a leading agribusiness consultancy revised its forecast for the country's crop this year due to a drought that is hurting fields.

In states such as Paraná and Mato Grosso do Sul losses are known while in other regions they have not yet been accurately measured, said Bartolomeu Braz, the head of grain growers group Aprosoja Brasil.

Braz noted the prospect of a "catastrophic" crop as some regions, including Brazil's new agricultural frontier Matobipa, have not seen a drop of water for some 30 days.

Such remarks contrast sharply with expectations earlier in the season - which kicked off in September - when strong Chinese demand and favorable weather set local farmers on course to produce a new bumper crop.

Consultancy INTL FCStone slashed its output projection by about 4 million tonnes to 116.25 million tonnes, according to a report sent to clients on Thursday that cited dry weather stressing soy.

It also reduced soybean export forecasts to 72 million tonnes this season from 75 million tonnes previously as the crop projection was lowered and carryover stocks are tight.

"If [the new projection] is confirmed, Brazilian soybean output will not break the previous record, even in the face of the expansion of the planted area," INTL FCStone said.

The consultancy is among the first to lower its forecast for Brazilian soybean output this season, but others could follow suit as dry conditions persist.

Aprosoja's own output projection, which is being revised, is between 110 million tonnes and 115 million tonnes, Braz said.

According to Brazilian government data, local farmers collected an unprecedented 119.3 million tonnes in the 2017/2018 cycle.

"Climate rules," said Antonio Galvan, head of Aprosoja in Mato Grosso state, Brazil's largest grain growing state. On Friday, he told Reuters it is still early to estimate losses there, but added they will occur "for sure." (Reporting by Ana Mano and José Roberto Gomes; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Susan Thomas)

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