Brazil imports most US wheat in 35 years

Brazil corn production down, rice up slightly

For 2012/2013, Brazilian wheat production has been revised upward to 4.38 million metric tons but remains over 24 percent below the 2011/2012 production level, according to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

To meet 2012/2013 domestic consumption – estimated at 10.74 million metric tons – Brazil has had to import 7.12 million metric tons, due to a severe production shortfall in Mercosul supplier countries, especially Argentina. This enabled U.S. wheat exporters to ship 2 million metric tons from January to September, the largest export volume to Brazil since 1978. For 2013/2014, production is forecast at 4.77 million metric tons, almost 9 percent above 2012/2013 due to stronger prices. 2013/2014 imports are forecast at 7.7 million metric tons.

Record 2012/2013 corn production, estimated at 81 million metric tons, was negatively affected by a wholly inadequate infrastructure, low international prices, and a record U.S. harvest, according to the FAS report. Given the foregoing conditions, exporters – responsible for shipping an estimated 20 million metric tons – have incurred significant losses. For 2013/2014, corn production is forecast at 72 million metric tons due to lower prices. 

Milled rice production for 2012/2013 is estimated at 7.99 million metric tons, up marginally from 2011/2012. The estimate is buoyed by new cold-resistant varieties which are increasing yields in the state of Rio Grande de Sul, where 70 percent of Brazilian rice is grown. Milled rice production for 2013/2014 is forecast at 8.3 million metric tons and exports are placed at 850,000 metric tons.