ARGENTINA-  Argentina is poised to witness a remarkable surge in soybean production for the 2023-24 marketing year, with a projected increase of nearly 150%, according to a report from the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

The bumper crop is attributed to perfectly timed rains during the planting season, marking a significant rebound from the challenges faced in the previous year.

The FAS anticipates soybean output to reach 50.5 million tonnes in the current season, a substantial increase from the 20.5 million tonnes recorded in 2022-23, a year marred by drought that slashed yields and reduced planted areas. 

Last year, the agency lowered its soybean crush estimate to 26 million tonnes due to decreased exports and the lowest crush operation rates in decades. However, this year’s crush total is expected to soar to 40 million tonnes.

If realized, this season’s soybean production would be the highest since 2018-19, when Argentina harvested 55.8 million tonnes of the oilseed.

The FAS attributed the positive outlook to the end of the El Niño weather pattern, which terminated the country’s worst drought in over 60 years. The report highlighted that higher-than-average rainfall in major growing areas from early November through December played a crucial role in boosting soybean prospects.

The agency revised its soybean planted area projection upward by 800,000 hectares to 17.2 million, citing improved weather conditions and potential economic policy changes by the new government encouraging exports.

The FAS envisions a notable increase in exports for the 2023-24 season, projecting shipments at 6 million tonnes, more than three times the previous year’s amount.

As of December 31, 79% of the corn crop had been planted nationwide, nearly 9% ahead of the previous year’s pace. The report highlighted that the planted crop is rated in optimal or adequate condition. 

Industry contacts express optimism, expecting more normal precipitation throughout the growing season. Some analysts even anticipate a larger harvest, reaching up to 53 million tonnes this year.

Argentina’s soybean industry is poised for a robust comeback, benefitting from improved weather conditions and positive economic signals, marking a significant rebound from the challenges faced in the previous year.

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