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The U.S. Department of Agriculture on March 10 raised its forecast for Brazilian soybean production to a record 70 million tonnes. The revised forecast was up 1.5 million tonnes, or 2%, from the previous month’s projection. If the forecast is realized, the crop currently being harvested will be 1 million tonnes larger than the 2009-10 crop, which was the previous record outturn. The U.S.D.A. commented: “Yield is estimated at 2.89 tonnes per hectare, up 2% from last month but down 2% from last year. The soy crop is in good condition. Harvest is under way with progress slightly behind average and yields reported as average to above average. Harvest delays are attributed to late planting (due to low soil moisture when farmers were ready to plant) and frequent rain during February. The wet weather has led to occurrences of fields being harvested with high moisture content. Some soybean fields were ‘terminated’ (treated with chemicals to enable farmers to begin harvesting soybeans that were not yet fully mature) so that they could begin planting the second (safrinha) cotton and corn crops. Now that the window to plant the safrinha crops has closed, the harvest of later-planted and longer-season soybeans will begin.”

The U.S.D.A. projected Brazil’s soybean exports in the current marketing year at a record 32.5 million tonnes, up 0.3 million tonnes from the February forecast and up 14% from 28.6 million tonnes in 2009-10. The previous record soybean outgo from Brazil was 30 million tonnes in 2008-09. Brazil is the world’s second-largest exporter of soybeans with the United States holding the No. 1 position. U.S. soybean exports in the current year were projected at a record 43.27 million tonnes, unchanged from the February forecast but up 6% from the previous record of 40.9 million tonnes in 2009-10.