Vaivém: How big is the next Brazilian grain crop?

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Vaivém: How big is the next Brazilian grain crop?

This Wednesday (9) was marked by several disclosures of estimates of the Brazilian grain harvest. All of them indicate a good evolution in the production of grains for export, but a drop in the production of basic foods for the domestic market.

Conab (National Supply Company forecasts a harvest of 313 million tons in 2023. The IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) estimates a volume of 288 million tons.

The two entities, which practically accompany the same products, had strong disparities in soybeans and corn, products that represent 89% of the national volume of grains.

IBGE monitors the performance of 14 products; Conab, 16. This one has numbers of rapeseed and sesame, which are not very representative in the overall picture.

The difference is basically due to the smaller areas and yields estimated by the IBGE, both for soybeans and corn.

Conab estimates a planted area of ​​43.2 million hectares in this 2022/23 crop, 5% above the expected by the IBGE. The average productivity of 3,551 kilograms per hectare is 3.2% higher than that of the IBGE, which results in a difference of 11.3 million tons in final production.

According to Conab’s calculations, Brazilian soy production should reach 153.5 million tons; in the IBGE, 142.2 million. The USDA (US Department of Agriculture), which also released data on Wednesday, estimates a production of 152 million hectares.

Several consultancies are also betting on a volume exceeding 150 million tons. Others are still waiting to see how the weather and productivity are. AgRural forecasts 149 million tons for 2023.

Another point of disagreement between Conab and the IBGE is in the corn numbers. The first estimates a planting area of ​​22.4 million hectares, with an average productivity of 5,662 kilograms per hectare. Both exceed the IBGE data by 5%.

With that, the total production of the cereal would be 126.4 million hectares in Conab’s accounts and 114.6 million in IBGE’s accounts. Usda bets on a crop of 126 million tons.

If the 2023 result indicates good prospects for exports, the same does not occur with the supply of rice and beans to the domestic consumer.

Soybean exports are expected to total 96.5 million tons next year; corn, 45 million, according to Conab. In the same period, the production of rice fell 3.5% and that of beans, 3.1%, according to the IBGE.

Both products have higher prices for consumers at the end of the year. The fall in rice production in important countries such as India and the United States makes the Brazilian product more attractive in the foreign market.

Beans, with lower supply in the coming months, should have a price recovery. Both rice and beans will end the 2023 harvest with a smaller volume in internal stocks.

The first signs are good for agricultural production, but Conab itself warns that there is still not much clarity in these productivity calculations and that producers will still have to face many uncertainties.

They come from external prices, international demand, the effects of recession, high interest rates and the weather.

In addition, the exchange rate remains a risk, says Sergio de Zen, director of Conab. Producers are buying inputs with a valued dollar and an eventual retraction of the exchange rate means less income in the field.

For Conab, the 2021/22 grain harvest is 271 million tons. For the IBGE, at 262.8 million.

The IBGE states that this first forecast for 2023 is based on surveys and projections. Field information represents 36% of expected national production. Already the projections account for 64%.

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