December 30, 2011

Conventional Soybeans Maintain Share of Brazilian Production

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

Farmers in northern and western Mato Grosso continue to feel that conventional soybean production (non-GMO) has a promising future in the state. In addition to the fact that conventional soybeans are cheaper to produce and their yields are equal to or better than those of GMO soybeans, Brazil is the only country of the three major exporting countries (United States, Brazil, and Argentina) where conventional soybean production continues to have a strong presence.

The Conventional Soybean Program of Mato Grosso recently released the results of last year'CSoMSs field research indicating that the average yields of conventional soybeans in the state were slightly higher than 60 sacks per hectare or 3,600 kg/ha (52 bu/ac) with yields in some areas of the state as high as 80 sacks per hectare or 4,800 kg/ha (70 bu/ac). According to their results, the average conventional soybean yield was higher than the average GMO soybean yield in the state in 2010/11.

A spokesman for the organization, Clovis Albuquerque, stresses that they are not against GMO soybean production, but simply that they want to offer the farmers in Brazil the opportunity to choose between conventional or GMO soybean production. According to their data, conventional soybeans are cheaper to produce than GMO soybeans and conventional soybeans command a premium in the marketplace of approximately US$ 0.50 per bushel.

Research conducted by the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea) indicates that conventional soybean production is approximately R$ 100 per hectare cheaper than GMO production. Companies such as Amaggi and Caramuru are actively seeking to purchase conventional soybeans for their domestic customers as well as their international customers in Japan, Korea, and the European Union. Caramuru operates a crushing plant in Sorriso, Mato Grosso where they produce soybean oil made exclusively from conventional soybeans.

Another positive aspect of conventional soybean production often promoted by supporters is the fact that farmers who plant conventional soybeans do not have to worry as much about the possibility of Roundup Resistant weeds on their property. Farmers who produce conventional soybeans are better able to control any resistant weeds.

In order to meet what they feel will be the increasing demand for conventional soybeans; Embrapa is increasing its research and development of conventional soybean varieties.