BRASILIA, BRAZIL — With soybean planting proceeding at a record pace, Brazil is forecast to set an all-time high in production in the 2023-24 marketing year at 162 million tonnes, a 4.5% increase in output from the previous year, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the US Department of Agriculture.

“Soybean prices in Brazil are the lowest they have been since pre-pandemic levels, but farmers are still increasing planting area on trend,” the FAS said. “This is a result of farmers switching from planting first-season corn to soybeans. Corn prices are also currently low but worse relatively to soybeans.”

The FAS said the higher-than-average planting pace was due to more ideal weather patterns than previous years in the month of September. Planted area is expected to reach 45.4 million hectares, up from 43.8 million in 2022-23.

The report noted that for the first time in several years, the cost of production for Brazil’s soybean farmers is expected to decrease.

Brazil is forecast to set yet another record for soybean exports this year with shipments pegged at 100.2 million tonnes, exceeding the estimate for 96 million tonnes in 2022-23, the FAS said.

The forecast is based on increased expectations of ample available supplies and an extremely favorable exchange rate,” the FAS said.

Brazil is the world’s top soybean producer and exporter, with most of its shipments going to China.