MJ Reports from South America - News Release

UNL's Market Journal Travels to South America

Feb. 18, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. —There may be a few more weeks left of winter, but if you tune into an upcoming episode of "Market Journal," you may think it is July or August in Nebraska.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln television show last month visited Argentina and Brazil, where soybean-growing season was in full swing. Both Argentina and Brazil may experience record harvests in 2014, with the latter possibly overtaking the United States as the world's largest soybean producing nation. The "Market Journal" team made the trip to examine the boom in soybean production in South America and also to identify opportunities and challenges these countries face moving forward.

"The problems that Argentina faces are in the currency and the exports," said Jeff Wilkerson, the host of "Market Journal." "Producers face a 35 percent export tax when they ship their soybeans, which would take a large chunk of potential profits."

The soybean market abroad is driven by the market in the U.S. Due to the instability of the Argentine peso, farmers in the country often store their beans, rather than sell them, until their currency gains more value.

The crew's Brazil trip includes a stop in Mato Grosso, which is the largest soybean-producing state in the country.

"It was interesting to see the sheer volume of soybean production," said Kurtis Harms, producer of "Market Journal." "Fields would often go on for miles. There would be areas of mid-season soybean plants, and not too far away, six or seven combines were already harvesting."

Soybean production has skyrocketed in Brazil recently. The country has doubled its soybean acres since 2000 and expects to increase by six to 10 million metric tons this year alone. Despite the dramatic increase in planted acres, Brazil faces many infrastructural challenges that could impede growth.

"The (dirt) roads that they have in Brazil are not good, to put it lightly," said Wilkerson. "Some of the roads we were on — as we were there during the rainy season — were filled with potholes. You have to remember; this is before their harvest begins. You have to wonder what they're going to look like once harvest starts."

"Market Journal" previously visited Canada in 2011, China in 2012 and South Africa in 2013. "I think it's important to regularly look at the agricultural industry from a global perspective," Harms said. "It is important to us to help farmers in Nebraska see how different agricultural systems in the world can impact how they produce and market their commodities."

"Market Journal's" coverage from South America will run throughout the rest of the winter and into early spring on Saturdays at 7 a.m. CT on NET1 and Sundays at 9 a.m. CT on NET2. Segments from Argentina and Brazil are also archived online at SouthAmerica.

"Market Journal" is produced by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and is funded by the Nebraska Soybean Board.

Jeff Wilkerson
Market Journal Host

Kurtis Harms
Market Journal Producer

Dan Moser
IANR News Service