LONDON, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Brazil could emerge as the world's top soybean producer in 2012/13 as high prices encourage plantings while the worst drought in 56 years devastates crops in the U.S. Midwest, the International Grains Council said on Thursday.
The IGC, in a monthly update, raised its forecast for Brazil's soybean crop in 2012/13 by 1 million tonnes to 76 million while cutting its forecasts for U.S. production by 6 million tonnes to 73 million.
"Strength in international values will likely encourage farmers in the southern hemisphere to boost plantings for next year's harvest," the IGC said.
The U.S. has been clearly the world's top producer in recent years with production in 2011/12 of 83.2 million versus Brazil's 66.4 million.
The IGC said world soybean production in 2012/13 may rise by 7 percent to 255.0 million tonnes "as an expected rebound in South American output more than compensates for another disappointing U.S. crop."
Soybean prices have risen to record highs in recent weeks as the outlook for the U.S. crop has deteriorated.
The IGC said the sharp downward revision to its forecast for the U.S. soybean crop "reflects the impact of this season's mostly hot and dry weather on yield potential, especially as this coincided with the crucial pod setting stage for the crop."