A new study by the American Farm Bureau Federation indicates that in the future, fewer farmers will produce a larger share of America's food and grain. The two-year study concluded that mid-sized farms will be replaced by large operations ... and that profitability on U.S. farms will be dictated mostly by exports, and not domestic demand.
In that regard, the challenges from foreign competition already require America's farmers to be adaptable. That's especially true of U.S. soybean growers, who must watch production trends in two hemispheres ... one north and one south.
According to Brazilian officials, that nation's farmers have completed 93 percent of the planting of this year's soybean crop. More importantly, the weather conditions have been far more agreeable for crop conditions this year than they were last year.
Planting is complete in most major soybean-producing states ... and plentiful rainfall in recent weeks is aiding crop development. Last year's crop was plagued by drought in many areas of Brazil. The dry conditions cut production and yields.
The latest survey by the farm consultancy Celeres indicates soybean acres in Brazil will be reduced by more than 6 percent this year. But the predicted output of roughly 2.15 billion bushels marks a 13.3 percent increase in production from last year -- that's more crop on fewer acres.
The only serious threat facing Brazil's soybean crop so far is the spread of soy rust, which has been reported in 80 municipalities in six states.