Slow start to South American planting could boost U.S. exports

(Illinois Farm Bureau file photo)

It’s a little early to call a slow start to planting in South America a major threat to crop yield potential there.

But it does suggest a delay in soybean exports from Brazil to other destinations this winter, which could extend the window for U.S. shipments by weeks, according to Michael Cordonnier, of Soybean & Corn Advisor in Hinsdale.

Brazilian farmers planted 1.6% of soybeans as of last week, less than half the average pace of 5%.

Meanwhile, about 15% of corn was planted in Argentina, about 5 points behind average, while farmers there had planted little to no soybean acres, yet, Cordonnier noted.

“September was one of the driest (in central Brazil) in the last 40 years. A lot of areas had no rainfall whatsoever (with temperatures above 100 degrees in some areas),” he said. It (the start of planting season) is a little slow as a result.”

South American farmers can still produce a good soybean crop, if they’re able to plant this month and growing season conditions improve.

“I’m not too concerned with soybean yield potential,” Cordonnier said. “The concern is with La Nina and if dryness persists.”

Each day South American planting gets delayed U.S. exporters remain in the driver’s seat to sell corn, soybeans and other products around the world.

“We already know exports out of Brazil will be delayed in January and February. We’re probably looking at at least a three-week delay,” Cordonnier said. “There could be a shortage of beans about the time the U.S. runs out and Brazilian (exports) start to kick in (possibly in February).”

The South American planting concerns along with strong crop demand continue to pressure prices. December soybean prices in South America already reached the equivalent of $13.25 while recent corn shipments booked there totaled nearly $6 per bushel.