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Brazil Soy, Corn Crops Seen at Record on Planting, Rain

Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Soybean output in Brazil, set to surpass the U.S. as the largest grower, will rise more than previously estimated to a record as growers expand planting, the government said. The corn forecast was also raised to a record.

Growers will harvest 83.4 million metric tons in the 2012-2013 crop year that started Sept. 1, more than the 82.7 million tons estimated last month, the Agriculture Ministry’s crop-forecasting agency, known as Conab, said in a report today. Production will climb from 66.4 million tons collected in the past season.

Rising soybean prices are encouraging growers to expand planting, while regular showers on corn crops are helping boost yields after dry weather hurt output in the past season, Conab said. Crops in the South, where most of the country’s corn is grown, are expected to get above-average rain in the next three months, Conab’s agricultural policy director, Silvio Porto, said at a news conference in Brasilia today.

Soybean futures have risen 21 percent on the Chicago Board of Trade in the last 12 months. Corn has risen 12 percent.

Soybean growers are increasing planting to 27.6 million hectares (68.2 million acres), up from 25 million in the past harvest, Conab said.

Corn Forecast

The corn forecast was raised to 76 million tons from 72.2 million tons estimated in January. Production will increase from 73 million tons in the previous harvest, Conab said.

The bumper corn crop led the government to announce yesterday it will auction option contracts to purchase the grain from producers to rebuild government stockpiles.

Brazilian corn stockpiles may rise to a record 15.5 million tons by year-end as U.S. output recovers, Porto said.

The government initially plans to buy 2 million tons of corn at auctions to boost stockpiles and may raise the target, the country’s agricultural policy secretary, Neri Geller, said at the same conference.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mario Sergio Lima in Brasilia Newsroom at mlima11@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Attwood at jattwood3@bloomberg.net

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