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Rains bolster Paraguay soy crop

Reuters / Paraguay’s soy farmers should gather a record 2012-13 crop of more than eight million tonnes after recent rains eased concerns that yields could take a last-minute pounding from dryness in the world’s No. 4 exporter.

While the South American country’s harvests are small when compared with those of neighbouring soy giants Argentina and Brazil, the Agriculture Ministry forecasts record output of 8.4 million tonnes, more than twice last season’s drought-hit crop.

Three weeks before the bulk of harvesting will come to an end, average yields are running at three tonnes per hectare. In some southeastern farming areas, yields of 4.5 tonnes per hectare have been recorded.

Government farming officials say the tinder-dry weather of recent weeks only hurt crops in northern areas, which account for about 10 per cent of the country’s soy area.

“These 30 or 40 days without rain did have an impact, but not to a great extent. With these rains, things have recovered,” said Edgar Mayeregger, director of the Agriculture Ministry’s risk management unit.

Paraguay currently crushes about 30 per cent of its soy harvest, but industry analysts expect that to reach 60 per cent due to the new plants.

Hamburg-based oilseeds analysts Oil World said last month it expected soybean crushings to more than double between February 2013 and January 2014, probably reaching a record 3.2 million tonnes.

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