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University of Illinois economists report on historical growing of soybean production in Brazilqrcode

Apr. 2, 2021

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Apr. 2, 2021

Soybean production in Brazil over the past 30 years has increased almost ninefold, from 566 million bushels for the 1990/91 crop to 4,965 million bushels for the 2020/21 crop, according to data from the National Supply Company (Conab). Harvest is underway, and the forecasts so far are for another record crop in Brazil, despite a dry planting season and excessive rain toward the end of the season.  Brazil’s growth in the past three decades results from increases in planted area and increases in yields.

Production in U.S. and Brazil

In the past several years, Brazil has surpassed the United States and has become the largest soybean-producing nation. In the 2019/20 production year, Brazil is projected to produce 4,587 million bushels of soybeans (Conab) while the U.S. produced 4,135 million bushels (USDA).


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Brazil’s soybeans exports are 3,049 million bushels valued at $28.6 billion in U.S dollars, ranking second all-time among Brazil’s soybean exports. China purchased 73.2% of Brazilian soybeans exported in 2020, which corresponded to $20.91 billion (Mapa, 2021). The soybean expansion happened within the world context of growth in animal protein consumption. The worldwide market for poultry, pork, and beef has grown significantly in the past decades. That, in turn, drove the increase in the demand for animal feed, normally derived from soybeans and corn.

Planted Area

Brazil’s soybean production is directly related to the increase in the planted area over the past 30 years. From 1990/91 to the 2020/21 season, the number of acres planted increased from 24 million acres to 95 million acres, which increased 291%.  In the same period, the planted area in the U.S rose 44%, from 58 million acres in 1991 to 83 million acres in 2020 (USDA).


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To view the complete report, click here.

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