BRAZIL – Brazil is set to top the list of the world’s largest soybeans producer with production estimated at 117 million tonnes, beating the United States which has been on the top rank for a long time in history, according to Abiove, the oilseeds crusher group.

Abiove’s report indicates that the US is expected to harvest 116.48 million tonnes of soybeans later in 2018, citing information from United States Department of Agriculture figures released recently.

Improved production in Brazil is attributable to logistical improvements, gains from planting second corn as a rotation crop, all geared towards increasing the overall farmer yields.

While U.S. soybean farmers are expected to reduce harvested area by 1.45% in the current marketing year, to 35.7 million hectares (according to the USDA), Brazil has been growing its planted area at a pace between 500,000 and 700,000 hectares per year.

Brazil’s ability to expand planted area grants it the opportunity to maintain top position as the world’s largest soybean exporter and a possibility to expand this lead in the coming years.

By growing 500,000 hectares, it can add up to 2 million tonnes of soy to the market per season, said Abiove.

As demand for soybean remains high on the international market, Brazil’s soybean exports were revised up to record 72 million tonnes this year up from 68 million tonnes last season, according to the consultancy group Céleres.

“Had the weather been as perfect as last year’s, Brazil’s soyabean crop would have surpassed 120 million tonnes,” said Andre Pessoa, partner at consultancy Agroconsult.

“Part of the premiums over Chicago being paid for the soya in Brazil are related to Argentina.

“Though tensions may rise, Brazil and Argentina are not in a position to increase supplies to China overnight, nor is China in a position to stop buying US soyabeans at once.”

Brazil soyabean premiums were reportedly widened by a drought period which damaged Argentina’s grains and China’s potential retaliation of US protectionism widened in relation to prices in Chicago, Andre Pessoa.

Last season, Brazil produced a record 114.6 million tonnes, yields at national level rose to an estimated 56.5 bags per hectares from 55.8 hectares in the previous season, reported Agroconsult’s estimates.