The grain harvest in Brazil for the 2023/24 season could reach an estimated 288 million tonnes (317.5 million tons), according to official figures.
The first survey of the 2023/24 harvest by Conab, the Brazilian government’s food supply and statistics agency, signals a “slight decrease” compared to the previous season.
The forecast has been influenced by the prospect of a decrease in average productivity due to a slight growth in the total area sown, which is expected to exceed 78 million hectares.
The 2022/23 grain harvest reached a new record at an estimated 293 million tonnes, representing an increase of 18.4% or 45 million tonnes in the amount of grain harvested when compared with the previous season.
“From what projections indicate, we will have, at least, the second-largest harvest in the history of Brazil,” Edegar Pretto, president of Conab, said.
“It is necessary to monitor the development of crops and the adjustments that we will make throughout the season, which could result in this harvest’s production even surpassing that of the last harvest.
“However, even if it is not a new record, we expect a good harvest,” he said.
Conab estimates growth in both the planted area and productivity of soya beans, the main grain grown in Brazil, but at a slower speed than that recorded in the last crop year.
With an expected planned area of 40 million tons and an initial average productivity estimated at 3,586kg/ha, production should reach just over 162 million tons, the agency said.
If this forecast is accurate, the volume to be harvested will be a new record for the crop.
Brazil is anticipating that soya bean exports will remain high in 2024 with shipments of the oilseed estimated at around 92 million tonnes.
However, corn production is expected to drop to 107 million tonnes in the 2023/24 harvest due to a 4.8% reduction in the planted area and a similar decrease in average productivity.
Exports of corn are forecast to drop by around 27% as a result compared to the 2022/23 harvest.
Conab is expecting a 7.7% increase in the volume of rice harvest compared to 2022/23, while bean production is anticipated to be 0.8% up on the previous season.
“The federal government has resumed public policies to stimulate food production, with announcements of harvest plans, the resumption of public purchases and the guarantee of minimum prices.
“These and other actions give positive signals to rural workers and we believe that the result we see in this announcement is related to this,” Pretto said.
With around 40% of crops harvested, Conab said that wheat crops show an increase in area of around 12.1% and a reduction in productivity of 11.6%, compared to 2022, resulting in an expected production of 9.5 million tonnes.
Heavy rainfall and diseases associated with high humidity had a particular impact on crops in Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina.