The prospect of a huge Brazilian soybean harvest ahead, which may earn the country the title of the world's top producer, is heightening concerns over shortfalls in its transport and storage facilities.
Analysis group Celeres this week became the latest commentator to forecast a huge rise in Brazil's next soybean crop, set for harvest early in 2013, pegging it at 78.1m tonnes.
The jump of 17.8%, year on year, reflects in part expectations of improved yields following damage from the El Nino weather pattern to the last harvest, but also an estimate that sowings will rise 8% to 27.14m hectares as farmers seek to exploit elevated prices.
Other analysts have pegged the harvest even higher, with Agroconsult forecasting an 83.1m-tonne crop, potentially enough to top the drought-hit US crop.
However, the prospect of huge crop volumes to shift to port has raised fears for infrastructure already struggling to cope with an elevated safrinha, or winter, corn crop, and exploit a gap in world supplies created by disappointing US output.
Crop scout Michael Cordonnier, at Soybean and Corn Advisor, warning of "chronic congestion" already at Brazil's ports, said that the "entire logistical situation is expected to get worse in 2013".
Flagging the threat of "logistical gridlock", Dr Cordonnier said that areas far from port looked set to be particularly badly hit, including Mato Grosso, where farmers are expected to double soybean sowings to 1m hectares, besides increasing plantings of safrinha corn seeded as a follow-on crop.
"If the yield of both crops turns out to be very good, there will be significant problems in storing and transporting both of those crops in 2013."
According to Macquarie, it costs $150 a tonne to transport soybeans to port from Mato Grosso, the top producing state, compared with $30-40 a tonne from farms in the US Midwest.
Dumped on the ground ...
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
Back to News Headlines