Argentine growers have harvested about 5 percent of this year's soy, with high yields in the central farm belt compensating for flood damage in northern fields and keeping the country on track for a record crop, analysts said on Wednesday.
Adding to what is expected to be all-time high world soybean output this season, forecasts for Argentina's crop range from 56 to 60 million tonnes, exceeding the record 53.4 million tonnes that the agriculture ministry recorded last season.
The Argentine Agriculture Ministry forecasts a 2014-15 crop of 58 million tonnes.
"If it doesn't rain much more during the harvest period, we will have a record crop in a range of 58-60 million tonnes," said crop analyst Pablo Adreani of consultancy Agripac.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects global soy stocks to hit a record-high 89.5 million tonnes by the end of the 2014-15 season. It forecasts world soy production at a record 315.1 million tonnes.
Strong soybean demand from China and global demand for soymeal livestock feed has kept a floor under Chicago soybean futures, which have hovered near the $10 a bushel mark in recent months, after falling to a 4-1/2 year low near $9 in October.
Early-planted soybeans in the central farm belt, anchored by the bread-basket province of Buenos Aires, are coming in at 4 million tonnes per hectare versus 3.6 million last year, Rossi said. The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said it is seeing average yields of 4.0 to 4.5 tonnes per hectare in the same area.
"I still think there could be a reduction in crop estimates of a million tonnes," Alvarado Ledesma said.