Indigo Atlas Releases April Corn & Soybean Yield Forecasts for South America

Indigo’s GeoInnovation Team is excited to share our April South America Crop Health Report. This month’s report is updated with new production estimates and expert commentary for corn and soybeans in Brazil and Argentina. We hope this information is helpful to growers planning their marketing strategy, and to traders and buyers formulating their market outlook.

We’re committed to releasing this and other market data monthly. Going forward, reports of this type will be made available through Indigo’s ag-intelligence channel, something you will hear more about in the coming weeks.

Flooding in the Midwest of the U.S.

Growers have been dramatically impacted by the flooding in the Midwest. Aerial images show significant changes to the landscape, illuminating the extent of the damage that has been reported from the ground. Our own analysis has identified silos and fields flooded by the Missouri River.

Flooding photo_1Pre-flood


Flooding 2Post-flood

Brazil: Soybeans trend down while corn thrives

Soybean yields in Brazil are down 15% from last year. Below average rainfall continues to impact the crop’s health.

Brazil_Soy_AprilBrazilian corn, meanwhile, has continued to thrive. Corn was planted a few weeks after soy and has been able to take advantage of more favorable weather. Yield is estimated at 92.3 bushels per acre, which is 19% higher than 2018. This is also 12% higher than our March estimates.

Brazil_Corn_AprilThis increase in outlook is due to an unusually strong safrinha crop in Brazil—we forecast an average yield of 102 bushels per acre—well above historical yield trend.

The safrinha crop was planted between January and February, which means that today the crop has moved into the flowering and grain-filling stages of its lifecycle.

Expect this safrinha harvest to be mostly for export, while the earlier planted corn will be mostly for domestic consumption. A crop this big will continue to have downward pressure on corn prices worldwide.

Argentina: Thriving crops across the board

We estimate soybean yields in Argentina to be 49.6 bushels per acre, which is a 53% increase over last year’s drought-impacted crop, but down slightly from March estimates.  


Meanwhile, corn production in Argentina is an estimated 128.2 bushels per acre, which remains consistent with what we reported in March. That yield would put Argentina up 43% compared to the 2018 harvest.


Commentary on the numbers from our experts

Our models expect Argentina and Brazil to produce 11.4 billion bushels of corn and soy this year. The 5.6 billion bushels of corn is up 28% from last year. (The 1.2 billion bushel increase is roughly equal to the combined production of South Dakota and Ohio.) The 5.8 billion bushels of soybeans are up 2% from 2018.

As many U.S. growers are still at least three weeks away from planting – and since there is more rain in the forecast – we will not know the number of Prevented Planting acres across the country until late May (this will give us an early indication of the flooding impact). We will also not know the lost corn acreage this season until June. A combination of intense flooding and unusually damp weather elsewhere could mean a record prevent plant amount for 2019. Historically, this has led to a lower final production in corn. Similarly, in other years with record prevent plant acreage for corn, there has been a switch in acreage to soybeans. We’ll see how many growers actually switch over in the coming months. In any event, it’s safe to expect a higher soybean acreage by the end of the year.

Record carryout for soybeans continues in the U.S. As discussed in our previous report, this carryout could enable growers to receive a relatively high price when hedging more aggressively with their soybeans.



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