Limit Up

By Tori Uhland

August 18, 2023

I’ve mentioned before how things going on around the world can impact us right here at home, especially in the agriculture industry. South America is quickly becoming a major component in the world market. Both Brazil and Argentina are significant players in corn and soybeans, which are among the most traded commodities globally. They are major producers and exporters of these crops, often competing with the United States for market share.

Brazil and Argentina have a strategic advantage due to their counter-seasonal crop cycles compared to the United States. While the US harvests crops like corn and soybeans in the Northern Hemisphere’s fall, Brazil and Argentina harvest in their spring. This timing enables them to supply the market when the US stocks are relatively low.

Brazil and Argentina have steadily increased their grain and oilseed exports over the years, often capturing a significant portion of the global market share. This export surge can result in a surplus of supply, affecting prices and trade dynamics globally.

As major exporters of agricultural commodities, Brazil and Argentina compete with the United States in various markets, particularly for key importers like China and the European Union. Price competitiveness, trade relationships, and freight costs can determine who secures lucrative trade deals.

Advancements in agricultural technology have significantly boosted crop yields and overall productivity in Brazil and Argentina, as well as the rest of the world. Innovations like precision farming, improved seeds, and efficient irrigation methods have allowed these countries to increase their output, further influencing global supply and demand dynamics.

Brazil is the second-largest producer of soybeans in the world, trailing only behind the United States. The country’s favorable climate, particularly in the Cerrado and Amazon regions, provides an extended growing season that complements the Northern Hemisphere’s production cycle. This allows Brazil to harvest soybeans earlier than the United States, meeting the demand for soybean exports during the period when US supplies are typically low. When supplies are low, prices are generally higher, so that allows Brazil to capitalize on the timing.

Brazil has been steadily increasing its corn production in recent years, becoming one of the world’s largest exporters. The country’s Safrinha (second) corn crop, grown after the soybean harvest, has been a major contributor to this growth. The expansion of corn acreage and the adoption of modern farming practices have boosted Brazil’s corn output, making it a significant competitor in the global corn market.

Similar to Brazil, soybeans are a cornerstone of Argentine agriculture. The country is one of the world’s leading producers and exporters of soybeans, and its production cycle is also counter-seasonal to that of the Northern Hemisphere. This allows Argentina to supply soybeans to global markets during periods of lower production in other major exporting countries. Argentina has been expanding its corn production in recent years, aiming to increase its global market share. The country’s corn production benefits from its varied climate zones, enabling it to cultivate both summer and winter crops. Argentina’s corn exports contribute to global supply, with the potential to impact international prices and trade dynamics.

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