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Brazil Coffee Crop Seen Close to Record in 2013

Coffee growers in Brazil, the world’s largest producer, may approach last year’s record output even as trees enter the lower-yielding half of a two-year cycle, the Agriculture Ministry said.

Producers will harvest between 47 million and 50.2 million bags, compared with 50.8 million last year, ministerial crop-forecasting agency Conab said today by e-mail in its first estimate for this year. Growers harvested 43.5 million bags in 2011, the previous lower-yielding year.

Investments in soil treatment and crop renewal in past years, coupled with adequate rainfall, will help keep output near record levels, Jose Milton Dallari, a director at the Rio de Janeiro-based National Agricultural Society, said in a interview this week. The outlook for a bumper crop growers will start reaping in April may push coffee to as low as $1.4 a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York in coming months, down from $1.474 yesterday, he said.

Producers of the mild-tasting arabica variety may harvest as much as 37.5 million bags this year, down from 38.3 million bags last year, Conab said. Output of the robusta variety, used to make instant coffee, may rise to as much as 12.7 million bags, from 12.5 million.

A bag of coffee weighs 60 kilos (132 pounds).

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