Market Journal's Coverage of South American Agriculture

Argentina and Brazil - January 14 - 25, 2014

South America Preview – Argentina and Brazil have both dramatically added soybean acres. Many believe they can continue to put more soybeans in the ground. But many challenges stand in the way of making the transition from field to consumer a smooth one. Nonetheless, U.S. soybean producers have already felt South America's recent rise.

Part 2 – Growing Conditions – Farmers in both Argentina and Brazil expect to mirror the U.S. in 2014, in that margins will be tighter than previous seasons. In Brazil, a caterpillar caused early trouble in soybeans. In Argentina, concerns over precipitation were starting to emerge during our mid-January trip. There are stark differences between here and there: the use of crop insurance isn't widespread, and irrigation is sparse. The benefits and challenges for both countries are very different than those in the Midwest.

Brazilian Futures Market – Fabiana Salgueiro Perobelli Urso, BM&FBOVESPA agribusiness products manager, discusses how farmers in Brazil can use futures contracts to protect their margins.

Argentina's Transportation Advantage – Terminal six, or T6, was founded in 1985 by six companies. Its two shareholders now are Bunge and Argentine company AGD. T-6 sits on about one thousand acres of land on the Parana River near the city of Rosario. That's a very important location, agriculturally-speaking. This area is positioned well to serve the Pampas region of Argentina – a nearly 300,000 square mile area of plains where, towards the east, soybeans flourish.

Argentina's Proteco Feedlot – More Argentine farmers are opting to use land for crops, instead of livestock. As a result, more cattle are now being finished in feedlots, rather than on grasslands. Market Journal's Kurtis Harms reports from Argentina's Proteco Feedlot to show how one of the country's larger operations is raising its animals.

Part 1 - A Soybean Boom – With a good finish to the growing season and favorable weather during harvest, Brazil could very well overtake the United States as the world's number one soybean producer. Regardless, that crop will set a production record, and the same could happen across the border in Argentina. The USDA is expecting Argentina's farmers will produce 54.5 million metric tons (MMT) of soybeans and Brazil's total will be 89 MMT. The U.S. harvested a little more than 89.5 MMT during the 2013 season. The new highs in both Argentina and Brazil shouldn't be a surprise once you see how far and how fast the two countries have climbed in soybean production over the last two decades.

Part 3 – After Harvest – While Brazil may be the leading soybean producer after its harvest this year, it's already the world's top exporter of soybeans. Argentina is number one in shipping both soybean oil and meal. For both nations, however, some of the biggest challenges occur when trying to sell those products and get them to ports. If the difficulties in these areas are improved, it would have an impact on soybean production there, and therefore, prices here.

Brazil Ag Overview – Amaryllis Romano, Tendências consultoria integrada (Brazil), outlines Brazil's agricultural landscape.

Argentine Producer Perspective – Argentine farmer Santiago del Solar Dorrego talks about his view of agriculture in Argentina. This interview was taped January 19, 2014 near Rojas in the northern portion of Buenos Aires province.