March 27, 2019 / 9:01 PM / 4 months ago

Brazil soybean crop seen at 114.24 million tonnes as drought eases: Reuters poll

FILE PHOTO: A crop duster plane sprays a field of soybeans near Palmeirante, Brazil February 16, 2018. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil’s 2018-19 soybean crop will total just above 114 million tonnes as the return of rains in February helped stem losses caused by a drought earlier in the season, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday.

Brazil, the world’s largest soybean exporter, was initially expected to produce more than 120 million tonnes of soybeans in the current season after an expansion of the planted area to 36 million hectares.

Now, according to the average of 12 estimates in the Reuters poll, output is estimated at 114.24 million tonnes, down 4.2 percent from the previous season and below the 114.59 million tonnes seen in a February survey.

“With the soybean harvest advance ... we estimate most drought-related losses have already been accounted for,” said Daniely Santos, an analyst at consultancy Céleres.

More than two-thirds of Brazil’s soy area had been harvested through Thursday of last week, said consultancy AgRural.

According to Rabobank, soy yields fell by 15 percent on average in the states of Mato Grosso do Sul and Paraná compared with the previous cycle due to the drought.

In Brazil’s new agricultural frontier known as Matopiba, yields fell 13 percent from last year but still are 9 percent above the five-year average, Rabobank analyst Victor Iekda said.

Reporting by José Roberto Gomes; writing by Ana Mano; Editing by James Dalgleish

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