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December 18, 2014

Soybeans to Occupy 73% of the Cropland in Western Bahia

The state of Bahia in northeastern Brazil is generally where the last soybeans are usually planted in Brazil and it has been no different this year. According to the Technical Council of the Bahia Association of Farmers and Irrigators (Alba), farmers in the state have now completed the planting of the 2014/15 soybean crop and they are nearing completion of the corn and cotton planting.

Alba is estimating that the 2014/15 soybean acreage in Bahia will be 1.4 million hectares or 8.4% more than last year. Low prices for corn and cotton led many farmers to reduce their acreage of those crops in favor of more soybeans. Soybeans will occupy 73% of the cropland planted in western Bahia in 2014/15 and the total soybean production should be 4.8 million tons.

Farmers in western Bahia followed a similar pattern in other areas of Brazil by reducing their corn acreage by 16.9% to 222,000 hectares. In other words, farmers in western Bahia will plant approximately six times more hectares of soybeans than corn. The total corn production in the state is expected to be 2.2 million tons.

The cotton acreage in Bahia is expected to decline as well by 5.8% from 308,000 hectares in 2013/14 to 290,000 hectares in 2014/15. Even with this reduction, Bahia is still the second leading cotton producing state in Brazil after Mato Grosso.

The Technical Council of the Bahia Association of Farmers and Irrigators is composed of representatives of producer associations, multinational agribusinesses, financial institutions, and government agencies and they meet periodically to assess planting, harvesting, and the general crop situation in western Bahia. Their estimates are based on market conditions, technology usage, weather conditions, and the amount of disease and insect pressures on the crops.