Mexico: Farmers Get Discouraged From Planting Oilseeds


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Mexico’s Oilseed production is forecast to increase to 328,000 MT in MY 2023/24, entirely due to increased Soybean production. The increase in planted area is the main reason for the rise and assumes the resumption of favorable weather conditions (i.e., mainly adequate moisture levels). Mexico’s Oilseeds production is subject to unpredictable weather conditions, as approximately 83 percent of production occurs in non-irrigated areas.

Total Oilseeds estimated production for MY 2021/22 and MY 2022/23 are 396,000 MT and 282,000 MT, respectively, based on updated official data from the Secretariat of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER). Substantial increases in input production costs such as fertilizers, herbicides, electricity, and gasoline prices, as well as insecurity in some production areas, discourage growers from planting Oilseeds.

The planted area for Soybeans will reach 160,000 hectares (ha) in the MY 2023/24, a 20 percent increase from the revised MY 2022/23 area estimated but still 16 percent below MY 2021/22 area. This increase assumes the resumption of typical weather conditions (i.e., adequate moisture levels), which would also be reflected in higher yields this marketing year. However, despite this increase in production, Mexico still supplies only 3.4 percent of its total domestic needs. According to AgFlow data, Mexico imported 1.5 million tons of Soybeans from the US in Jan-Apr 2023, followed by Brazil (0.4 million tons).

The total Soybean production estimate for MY 2022/23 (September to August) is revised downward based on more complete SADER data, which reflects a lower harvested area than initially expected. The updated SADER data includes the final figures for the 2022 Spring/Summer crop cycle and the updated information for the 2022/23 Fall-Winter crop cycle as of December 31, 2022. Soybean output decreased due to abnormal weather conditions, which negatively impacted yields. Official sources noted that the rainy season was irregular and untimely. The most significant reduction in planted and harvested areas occurred in Tamaulipas, one of the leading producing states, in the 2022 Spring-Summer crop cycle.

The planted area decline in Tamaulipas is attributed to a lack of ideal climatological conditions before and during the planting cycle. Last year’s rainfall was scarce, directly impacting the Soybean crop. The Soybean planting season in Tamaulipas was from June 15 to August 5, during which a large amount of planting was expected. However, the expected months with the most rain, September and October, resulted in scarce rain. The decrease was also caused by low yields obtained over the last several years.

Reportedly, due to these relatively low yields obtained by farmers in the last two growing seasons, the attractiveness of Soybean planting diminished since the producers did not reach their desired profit compared to production costs. In the same 2022 Spring-Summer crop cycle, the planted area was damaged in Campeche (around 10,000 hectares) due to drought, which impacted this state, diminishing both yields and harvested area. Despite the low production level in MY 2022/23, the reported Soybean quality was good.

Ragasa is the only company that provides improved seed varieties, technical assistance, and financial support to Soybean producers in the region called “Las Huastecas,” which encompasses southern Tamaulipas, northern Veracruz, and part of the state of San Luis Potosi. However, in other major Soybean-producing states (such as Campeche), growers do not have access to technical support and financing.

Sunflower Seeds in Mexico

Sunflower seed production for MY 2023/24 is forecast to remain stable at 9,000 MT. The MY 2022/23 production figure aligns with USDA/official estimates, reflecting the latest data published by SADER, which shows a slight increase in harvested area. As in other Oilseed crops, due to the elimination of government support programs, growers have decreased their interest in this Oilseed. In addition, farmers lack the knowledge and resources to implement appropriate production practices for this crop.

Other sources: USDA

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