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January 15, 2018

IBGE and Conab differ on their Brazilian Crop Estimates

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

Brazil has two agencies that release crop estimates on a monthly basis, IBGE and Conab. For those of you not familiar with IBGE, they are the equivalent of the Census Bureau in the U.S., whereas Conab is the equivalent of NASS in the U.S. Having two agencies estimating the same thing makes for some confusion especially if they differ significantly in their estimates like they do this year on corn production.

Both agencies released their Brazilian crop estimates late last week and they had very different estimates for both the Brazilian corn and soybean production.

Brazilian Corn - IBGE estimated the 2017/18 Brazilian corn production at 84.5 million tons, which is down 15.1% compared to last year. Conab's estimate for the Brazilian corn crop is 92.3 million tons. They both had fairly similar estimates for the full-season corn production. IBGE estimated the full-season corn crop at 26.6 million tons, which is down 14.4% compared to last year. This is actually a little larger than last month due to improved prospects for the full-season corn in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. Conab's estimate for the full-season corn crop was 25.1 million tons.

The big difference between the two agencies is for the safrinha corn crop, which will be planted over the next 1-2 months. IBGE is estimating the safrinha corn crop at 57.9 million tons, which would be a decline of 15.4% compared to last year and IBGE stated that their estimate is based on field surveys. Conab has not yet conducted a field survey concerning the safrinha corn crop and they basically carried forward last year's production of 67.1 million tons. Therefore, the two agencies differ by 6.7 million tons in their Brazilian corn estimate.

Brazilian Soybeans - IBGE estimated the 2017/18 Brazilian soybean crop at 112.3 million tons, which is approximately 4 million tons larger than last month. Conab estimated the Brazilian soybean crop at 110.4 million tons, which is 1.2 million tons larger than last month.

IBGE estimated the Brazilian soybean acreage at 34.5 million hectares, which would be up 1.7% from their 2016/17 soybean acreage. Conab estimated the Brazilian soybean acreage at 33.99 million hectares which would be up 3.2% from their 2016/17 soybean acreage. One of the problems is that the two agencies do not agree on the 2016/17 Brazilian soybean acreage and they differ by approximately one million hectares of about 3%.

They both have very similar yield estimates for the current soybean crop. IBGE is estimating the soybean yield at 47.19 bu/ac and Conab is estimating the yield at 47.09 bu/ac. The main difference is the acreage, which is based on a percentage increase over last year and they can't agree on last year's acreage.