Jun 13, 2024

Improved Prices Stimulate Paraguay Farmers to Increase Soy Sales

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

Farmers in Paraguay produced 10.5 million tons of soybeans in 2023/24 and approximately 8.5 to 9.0 million tons will be exported. Nearly all of Paraguay's soybean exports are barged down the Paraguay and Parana rivers to export facilities near Rosario, Argentina and in Uruguay.

Farmer sales slowed during March and April due to declining prices, but they picked up in May when prices improved. Soybean sales during May totaled 1.13 million tons, which was an increase of 34% compared to April and the highest monthly sales thus far in 2024.

By the end of May, 4.6 million tons of Paraguay soybeans had been exported. After a relatively quick start at the beginning of the year, soybean exports slowed during March and April due to slow farmer sales and low water levels on the Paraguay River.

Water levels are low due to drought in the Pantanal wetlands in western Brazil. Barges could not load to full capacity, slowing exports. The water level on the Paraguay River near the principal port of Villeta was 0.85 meters above baseline earlier this week compared to 3.5 meters a year ago. This is a small improvement compared to March when it was near zero.

River transport will be essential for the remaining 4 million tons of soybean exports, but water levels are not expected to improve significantly until summer rains return in August or September.

Once the soybeans reach Argentina or Uruguay, they are either crushed and then exported as soybean meal and soybean oil or they are transferred onto vessels for export. During the 2022/23 season, Paraguay soybeans were vitally important to crushers in Argentina due to the worst drought in decades that reduced the Argentine soybean crop by about half.