ARGENTINA – Argentina anticipates a boost in soybean production for the upcoming season, propelled by an expansion in planted acreage, particularly in the second crop according to the latest report from the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

The projection suggests an estimated 1.5 million tonnes increase, bringing total production to 51 million.

The surge in soy acreage is a strategic response to concerns over potential dry conditions and the looming threat of the chicharrita (leafhopper) infestation in corn, which is driving farmers to favor soy planting over wheat and first-crop corn. 

With wheat planting declining due to low prices and diminished returns, and corn facing similar challenges exacerbated by fear of yield impacts from the chicharrita, soybeans emerge as a more viable option for growers.

Although the FAS maintains a slightly lower production estimate for the current season, attributing it to a brief period of hot and dry weather in mid-January, prospects for the upcoming season appear promising. 

Crush and exports are expected to rebound, with projections indicating 40 million tonnes and 7.3 million tonnes, respectively.

Domestic consumption is also poised to increase marginally, driven by a return to normal production levels and anticipated growth in the poultry industry. 

Furthermore, biodiesel production is forecasted to rise slightly, fueled by increased crush activity and the easing of global edible oil supply constraints, making biodiesel more competitive.

Argentina’s position as the world’s leading soy meal and oil exporter remains robust, supported by its extensive crush capacity and well-established industry and export infrastructure, particularly along the Paraná River. 

The European Union is anticipated to maintain its position as the top market for Argentina’s soymeal exports, followed closely by strong demand from Vietnam and Malaysia. Egypt has emerged as a significant buyer in recent years.

While Argentina prepares for an uptick in soybean production, global grain and oilseed markets face weather-related uncertainties. 

Torrential rains in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s once-promising soybean region, have jeopardized harvest prospects, threatening approximately 30% of the remaining unharvested crops. 

Conversely, Argentina experiences drier conditions, aiding progress in soybean and corn harvests.

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