When it comes to soybean production, Iowa leads the nation and the U.S. leads the world — but that’s about to change. Brazil is poised to become the number-one soybean grower, based on U.S.D.A. projections for the current crop year, which ends in August.
Iowa State University economist Chad Hart says Brazilian farmers have been gaining market share partly because they’re closer to the equator. “They literally have the possibility of two ample growing seasons for the same field,” Hart says.
“For example, they have fields down there where they do a corn-soybean rotation but both crops are grown within the same year.” Hart says as countries look to expand their food, feed and fiber production, they’re naturally going to move into commodities where the U.S. has long reigned.
He says last year’s drought in the U.S. helped pushed Brazil ahead, but American growers aren’t surprised. Hart says, “U.S. farmers, for corn and soybeans, have recognized that South America is an area of growing competition for us, has been for some time, and they recognize that’s a natural part of how this market develops.”
Hart says both countries export much of their soybean crop, with China being the biggest importer. The U.S.D.A. estimates Brazil’s edge over the United States will be about 52-million bushels.