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December 30, 2020

2.3% of Brazil's Soybeans are Conventional Soybeans (non-GMO)

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

A small portion of Brazil's soybean production is still devoted to the production of conventional soybeans, which are non-GMO. Brazil planted approximately 38.3 million hectares of soybeans in 2020/21 (94.6 million acres) with approximately 900,000 hectares devoted to conventional soybeans (2.2 million acres or 2.3% of Brazil's total soybean acreage). Mato Grosso is the main conventional soybean producing state in Brazil with 470,000 hectares (1.16 million acres).

The three main products of conventional soybeans are hipro soybean meal with 48% protein, SPC soybean meal with 62% protein, and lectin. The Brazilian Conventional Soybean Institute (ISL) estimates that there is an annual demand for 4 million tons for hipro soybean meal, 750,000 tons for SPC soybean meal, and 70,000 tons for lectin.

The five main countries that purchase Brazilian hipro soybean meal made from conventional soybeans, are Germany, France, Italy, Holland, and Switzerland and it is used primarily for poultry rations, but also for hogs and cattle, The main purchasers of Brazilian SPC 62% soybean meal are Norway, Denmark, United Kingdom, Greece, and Australia and it is used mainly for fish rations especially salmon and trout. Lectin is used as an emulsifier for many food products especially chocolate and ice cream.

Since commercial seed companies develop soybean varieties to be used in conjunction with their specific herbicides, it has been left to Embrapa to develop conventional soybean varieties. There are currently 17 different conventional soybean varieties adapted for production in the states of Mato Grosso and Goias.

The state of Mato Grosso is the main producer of conventional soybeans in Brazil because conventional soybeans produced in the western part of the state can be exported out of the Port of Porto Velho, which is set up to prevent the mixture of conventional soybeans with GMO soybeans.

The Brazilian Conventional Soybean Institute (ISL) feels the future of conventional soybean production in Brazil will depend on demand from the European Union, which is the principal consumer of conventional soybean products.