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USDA World Agricultural Production


09 March 2012

USDA World Agricultural Production - March 2012USDA World Agricultural Production - March 2012

The USDA estimates 2011/12 soybean production at 5.0 million tons, a drop of 22 percent from last month and 40 percent from last year.
USDA World Agricultural Production

Paraguay: Early Harvested Soy Yields are Low

The USDA estimates 2011/12 soybean production at 5.0 million tons, a drop of 22 percent from last month and 40 percent from last year. Harvested area is expected to be down to 2.6 million hectares, a 7 percent drop in area from last month and a 9 percent loss from last year. Yield is expected to drop to an average of 1.92 tons per hectare, a 16 percent loss from last month and a 34 percent loss from last year. Heavy rains that recently occurred have hampered harvest progress and will not benefit the crop.

After good weather in October and into the first three weeks of November in 2011, Paraguay had below average rainfall. No rain was recorded in January 2012. The main soy producing area in southeastern Paraguay had severe crop losses with remaining stands now being harvested with reduced yields. Early assessments show a reduction in yield from 30 to 70 percent in areas stressed by earlier drought. The delegations showing the most damage to soybean include; Itapúa, Paraguarí, Alto Paraná, and Canindeyú.

With such dire damage to crops in the heart of the growing region of Paraguay, the government recently declared a State of Food Emergency for 3 months, starting on January 17, 2012. The state will distribute additional bean and maize seeds to family farms with losses of 40 percent to their crops for the planting of the second season corn that is just starting. Unfortunately, the soybean crop—the main source of the country’s foreign exchange in agriculture—will be very limited this year and yields into mid-harvest continue to be low. (For additional information, contact Dr. Denise McWilliams at 202-720-0107.)

Argentine Soy Estimate Lowered

Argentine farmers are expected to bring in 46.5 million tons of soybeans for the 2011/12 season, 3 percent less than last month and 5 percent less than last year. The production will be harvested from an estimated 18.6 million hectares, 2 percent more area than last year and the same as last month. Yield is expected to fall to 2.50 tons per hectare, 3 percent lower than last month and 7 percent lower than last year.

In the center of the main growing region northwestern Buenos Aires, southern Cordoba and far-southern Santa Fe, suffered earlier from drought have first crop soybeans showing stress with yield losses estimated at 20 to 25 percent. The areas hardest hit by the December and early January drought may have suffered loss in yield potential in some second crop soybeans. In western Buenos Aires delegations first crop soy is already in mid- to late-reproductive plant stages after receiving 500 mm of rain from January and early February and then recently receiving another 300 mm. (For additional information, contact Dr. Denise McWilliams at 202-720-0107.)

Brazil Soybeans: Estimated Yield Continues to Fall

Brazil soybean production for 2011/12 is forecast at 68.5 million tons, down 3.5 million from last month and down 7.0 million or 9 percent from last year. Area is forecast at a record 25.0 million hectares, unchanged from last month and up 0.8 million or 3 percent from last year.

Yield is forecast at 2.74 tons per hectare, down 5 percent from both last month and the 5-year average. Drought from December through February significantly reduced yield prospects in the southern states, and favorable yields in the center-west and northeastern states will not compensate the considerable losses in the south.

The harvest pace is advancing quickly with 35 percent of the crop harvested by the beginning of March, approximately 10 percent ahead of last year’s pace. The harvest in the south is advancing more rapidly than last year due to severe drought that caused the crop to wilt and die before pods completely filled or matured.

Harvest reports of low yields in the southern states of Rio Grande do Sul, Parana, Mato Grosso do Sul, and Santa Catarina have reduced national output estimates by over 6 million tons from initial forecast projections. (For more information, contact Curt Reynolds at 202-690-0134.)

Brazil Corn: Second-Season Crop Will Offset First-Season Drought Losses

Brazil corn production for 2011/12 is forecast at a record 62.0 million tons, up 1.0 million tons from last month and up 4.5 million or 8 percent from last year. The month-to-month increase is attributed to an increase in the estimated area of second-season corn.

Total harvested area is forecast at 15.3 million hectares, up 0.3 million from last month and up 1.5 million or 11 percent from last year. Yield is forecast at 4.05 tons per hectare, which is slightly above the 5-year average of 3.95 tons per hectare.

The southern states of Rio Grande do Sul and Parana received below-average rainfall from November through February, which reduced yield prospects for main-season corn. Record area and favorable yield prospects for second-season corn, however, are expected to fully offset main-season losses. Output of second-season corn is forecast to comprise about 42 percent of Brazil’s total corn crop, compared to 38 percent last year.

Planting for second-season corn began in January, and the first week of March is considered the cut-off date for planting. Current conditions for the second-season crop are good. The greatest potential risk to the second-season crop would be an early end to rains in April. (For more information, contact Curt Reynolds at 202-690-0134.)

South Africa Corn: USDA Analysts Observe Signs of Water Stress in the Maize Triangle

South Africa corn production for 2011/12 is forecast at 12.0 million tons, down 0.5 million from last month and up 1.1 million or 10 percent from last year. Area is forecast at 3.2 million hectares, up 0.2 million from last month and up 0.3 million or 12 percent from last year. The forecast yield of 3.75 tons per hectare (t/ha) is near the five-year average of 3.77 t/ha and below last year’s yield of 3.82 t/ha. Overall conditions are dry and yield is not expected to surpass last year’s level.

Seasonal rainfall from October through February was below average despite expectations of above-average rainfall during a La Niña year. Furthermore, the seasonal rains arrived several weeks late, delaying the launch of the planting campaign. Soybeans typically are planted from October through December.

USDA/FAS personnel traveled throughout South Africa’s corn belt during the first week of March when the crop was in the early grain-fill stage. Crop conditions varied widely, with excessive dryness and permanently wilted corn in the worst areas. All major corn-producing provinces had a mixture of good and poor crops, although the majority of the crop displayed signs of water stress in early March.

South Africa’s National Crop Estimates Committee released its first production estimate at the end of February but a subsequent dry spell from mid-February through early March reduced yield expectations throughout the main growing region. Water balance models and vegetative indices indicate that yields will be less than last year by a significant amount. (For more information, contact Curt Reynolds at 202-690-0134.)

Australia: Record Cotton Production Still in the Forecast

The USDA forecasts Australia's 2011/12 cotton production at a record 4.8 million bales (480-pound bales), down 0.2 million or 4 percent from last month. Area harvested is forecast at 580,000 hectares, down 3 percent from last month and 1.7 percent from last year. The yield is forecast at 1802 kg/ha, down 0.7 percent from last month but up 16 percent from last year.

The 2011/12 cotton planting operations started in October and proceeded through November with favorable soil moisture conditions and full capacity irrigation reservoirs.

The optimal conditions, combined with rising cotton prices, led to increased plantings of both irrigated and dryland cotton. The crop is at advanced flowering to boll formation stages in southern New South Wales, and at advanced boll maturity to boll opening in northern New South Wales and in Queensland.

The revised crop outlook is primarily based on USDA crop analysts' field observations that revealed (a) a significant decrease in area harvested due to mid-season (January - February) wetter-than-normal conditions that have resulted in crop inundation and flooding especially in St. George (Queensland) and west Gwydir (New South Wales), and (b) lower yields than previously projected due to persistent cloudiness, cooler temperatures, and heavy rainfall. These elements have caused significant boll and flower shedding, resulting in an overall poor boll count. (For more information contact Dath Mita, PhD, at 2027207339.)

Australia: Higher Prospects for Wheat Crop Production

A significant increase in area planted and higher prospects of average-to-above-average yields have significantly improved Australia’s wheat crop expectations. The USDA forecasts Australia’s 2011/12 wheat production at 29.5 million tons, up 1.2 million or 4 percent from last month. The crop is projected to be a record. Last year’s crop rebounded from poor crops the previous three years.

Area is forecast at 14.1 million hectares, up 3 percent from last year. Yield is forecast at 2.09 tons/ha, up slightly from last year. Cropping regions in Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, and southern New South Wales received average-to-above average rainfall in July-August. On the other hand, cropping regions in Western Australia, South Australia, most of Victoria, and Queensland received average rainfall in winter (June-Aug). In late winter (August) and early spring (SeptemberOctober) rainfall was vital for the reproductive stages and helped to consolidate yield expectations. The favorable conditions and higher yield prospects in Western Australia, South Australia, and Victoria are projected to offset low production in New South Wales and Queensland. (For more information contact Dath Mita, PhD, at 202 720 7339.)

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