South American Soybean Seeding to Gain Less Than 10-Year Average

Soybean sowing in five South American countries will rise 2 percent, less than half the past decade’s average annual growth, as farmers plant more-profitable crops instead, Oil World said.

Growers will seed about 48.7 million hectares (120.3 million acres) with soybeans in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and Uruguay, up about 1 million hectares from last year, the researcher said today in a report. Planting in Brazil, the world’s second-biggest exporter of the oilseed, will gain 2.2 percent to 24.7 million hectares, it said.

Growers have “increased focus on plantings of corn and other grains, which have gained attractiveness relative to soybeans,” Hamburg-based Oil World said. “In some regions also plantings of sugar cane and cotton have been increased.”

Soybeans for January delivery fell 1.2 percent to $12.0275 a bushel by 11:33 a.m. London time on the Chicago Board of Trade. Prices gained 3.2 percent last month. The U.S. is the top global soybean producer and shipper, and China is the leading consumer.

About 21 percent of Brazil’s crop was planted as of Oct. 21, up from 15 percent a year earlier, Oil World said. Genetically modified soybeans will account for a record 83 percent of sowing in the country, according to the report.

Yields in Brazil

Brazilian production may fall as low as 72.2 million metric tons, down 4 percent from the prior year, as “exceptionally high” yields are set to drop, according to the report.

In Argentina, the second-biggest grower in South America, farmers will plant 19.1 million hectares with soybeans, up 300,000 hectares from the prior year, Oil World data show. Local sowing is behind schedule, with 1.16 million hectares seeded as of Oct. 27, down from 2.5 million hectares a year earlier, the researcher said.

Output in the country may rise 7.3 percent to 53 million tons, according to the report. Farmers already sold 4.2 million tons of new-crop soybeans through Oct. 12, up 56 percent from 2.7 million tons a year earlier, Oil World said, citing Argentina’s Ministry of Agriculture.

Exports from South America in October totaled 3.1 million tons, more than double the 1.52 million tons shipped a year earlier, Oil World data show. Brazil’s shipments rose 49 percent from October 2010 to 1.5 million tons, and Argentine exporters tripled deliveries to 1.2 million tons, the researcher said.

“China has recently been the by far largest export destination for South American soybeans,” Oil World said. “The increase in Chinese import demand and the reduction of U.S. exports have mainly contributed to the pronounced increase in South American soybean exports.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Tony C. Dreibus in London at tdreibus@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at Ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net.

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