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U.S. could fall to No. 2 in global soybean production

U.S. could fall to No. 2 in global soybean production

Brazil may overtake the U.S., a USDA report says

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The U.S. may not be the world’s leader in soybean production by year’s end.

“Brazil is forecast to overtake the United States as the leading soybean producer in the world during the 2019-20 season,” a Dec. 27 report from the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service said. “Production is forecast at 123.5 million metric tons (MMT) based on trend yields.”

The U.S. yield, on the other hand, is forecast to be “less than 100 MMT in 2019-20, a drop of almost 20 percent on the previous season,” the report says.

Even with Brazil’s forecasted production, soybean prices may not be affected.

Prices could fall “but it depends on demand,” said Moe Agostino, chief commodity strategist with Risk Management. “But, really, it could just be that Brazil gains export market share as (that country’s production) continues to grow.”

In August 2019, the USDA forecasted global soybean demand for the 2019-20 marketing year at 148.86 MMT, a 1 percent increase from 2018.

America has been the world’s top soybean-producing country since around the time of the Second World War. U.S. farmers doubled their production between 1941 and 1942 from 106 to 188 million bushels to support the war efforts, the Soy Info Center says.

The U.S. has led the world in soybean production every year since 1940. The one exception was 1947, when China produced the most soybeans.

Today, the U.S., Brazil and Argentina account for about 82 percent of global soybean production.

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