SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL — A drought that has caused crop failure in southern Brazil has led agribusiness consultancy Agroconsult to lower the country’s estimated 2019-20 soybean output by 6% to 123.5 million tonnes.
In January, Agrconsult had forecast production at 124.3 million tonnes.
The new forecast, released on March 31, still represents a 3.9% increase in production compared to 118.8 million tonnes in 2018-19.
The drought has hit the state of Rio Grande do Sul particularly hard, reducing projected output there by 7 million tonnes, Agroconsult said.
Record yields in Brazilian states such as Mato Grasso, Goiás and Paraná has helped offset the projected decline in production in southern Brazil.
Last year, Brazil became the biggest soybean supplier to China — the world’s largest soy consumer — accounting for nearly 80% of China’s soybean purchases, according to Chinese customs data.
That percentage could be reduced this year as China has eased tariffs on US agricultural products as part of phase one of a trade deal.