WASHINGTON, DC, US — With lower production costs and higher domestic prices, Brazil is expected to expand its soybean planted in 2020-21, according to a report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Planted area is estimated at 38.5 million hectares with production projected at 129 million tonnes. That compares to revised production estimates for 2019-20 of 123 million tonnes.

The planted area is expected to increase by more than 4%, which is above the average annual 2.8% growth for the last five seasons, the USDA said.

The USDA attributed the increase to several factors, including global demand, a favorable exchange rate, profitability, financing and infrastructure improvements.

Demand for soybeans is not likely to be hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic, and China may be a bright spot for purchases as it rebuilds hog and sow herds decimated by African swine fever.

Soybean exports overall for 2020-21 are forecast at 79 million tonnes, 2 million tonnes higher than the current market year.

“The forecast is based on available supplies and the favorable exchange rate,” the USDA said. “Post anticipates continued weakness of the real, amid the expected sluggish domestic economy grappling with the aftereffects of the global coronavirus pandemic.”

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