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UPDATE 2-Next Brazil soy crop seen up to record 82.8 mln T-gov't
* Brazil seen surpassing U.S. as top soy producer
* Planted soy acreage seen at a record 27.3 mln hectares
* Soy exports from 2012/13 crop seen at 36.25 mln tonnes
* Cotton output seen down at 1.6 mln T, wheat down at 5 mln T (Adds export figures, USDA numbers, yields, analyst quote)
By Caroline Stauffer and Peter Murphy
SAO PAULO, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Brazil should produce a record soybean crop that may be up to 25 percent larger than last season's as farmers plant more in reaction to high prices caused by the drought in the United States, the government said on Tuesday.
Soybean output should be between 80 million and 82.8 million tonnes as yields return to normal after dry weather damaged Brazil's 2011/12 crop, the government said. Productivity should increase 14.3 percent to 3.03 tonnes per hectare compared to 2.651 tonnes per hectare last season.
Brazil's area planted with soybeans should increase to 27.33 million hectares from last year's 25 million, supply agency Conab said in its first crop report of the season.
"This growth is due to excellent prices seen in the 2011/12 season that broke historic records due to the drop in production in the main producing countries," the agency said in reference to the worst U.S. drought in more than half a century.
Brazil has been the world's No. 2 soybean grower in recent years but will likely surpass the United States in oilseed production this season. The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects Brazil to produce 81 million tonnes of soybeans compared to 71.69 million tonnes in the dry United States.
"As long as the climate cooperates in Brazil, we will have a better harvest than anyone and overtake the United States in soybean production," said Safras e Mercado Analyst Luiz Fernando Gutierrez in the southern city of Porto Alegre. Safras forecasts an 82.3-million-tonne crop.
The U.S. harvest is turning out to be a bit better than analysts originally expected, causing soy prices in Chicago to fall 11 percent in three weeks. But global supplies will likely be tight until expected bumper crops from Brazil and neighboring Argentina are ready for export in January or February.
November soybean futures rose 0.58 percent to $15.59 per bushel on Tuesday.
Conab said it expects nearly half of Brazil's soybean crop or 38.25 million tonnes to be crushed in Brazil, with an estimated 36.25 million tonnes destined for export. Brazil will likely export 31.25 million tonnes of the 2011/2012 crop, Conab said.
The agency expects end-of-season stocks to quadruple by this time next year to about 4.3 million tonnes, up from about 946,000 tonnes in stock last month. That means Brazilian ranchers shouldn't have to import livestock feed like they did after a drought caused a local grain shortage this year.
Conab said Brazil's corn crop would be between 71.9 million and 73.2 million tonnes, compared with 72.6 million tonnes in 2011/12. Total area planted with corn is seen at up to 14.9 million hectares, down from 15.2 million hectares last year.
Brazil will likely export 15 million tonnes of corn from the 2012/2013 crop, down from 17.5 million tonnes exported in the 2011/2012 season, according to Conab. Corn stocks will likely rise to 17.7 million tonnes from 10.32 million tonnes, however.
Brazil has increased corn production and become the world's No. 3 corn exporter due mainly to farmers being able to coax two corn crops a year from the country's tropical soil. But Conab said farmers are largely favoring soybeans this year.
"Good soy prices ... have wooed growers in all producing states, even with strong prospects for production and trading of corn," Conab said of what would be at best a meager 1 percent increase in output next season, and at worst a 1 percent dip.
Less-than-expected rainfall has slowed planting of corn and soybeans in Brazil over the past few weeks and soybean planting has fallen behind last year's pace.
September rains that spurred planting last year fizzled out later, however, and many farmers lost their crops to drought. Gutierrez of Safras e Mercado said he expected planting to be in full swing nationwide later this month.
"On average Brazil starts planting in late October... It's not a problem for the overall crop size," he said.
Sao Paulo-based meteorologists Somar forecast on Monday more intense rains for Brazil's top producing states later this week as a cold front moved north from Argentina.
Brazil, South America's agricultural powerhouse, will likely produce a cotton lint crop of 1.6 million tonnes, down from 1.9 million tonnes last season, Conab said. Wheat production was forecast to fall to 5 million tonnes from 5.7 million tonnes a year earlier. (Reporting by Caroline Stauffer and Peter Murphy; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and John Wallace)
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