"This is the worst disease to ever hit the country's soy crop and farmers now realize that it must be combated," said Amelio Dall-Agnol, the head of Embrapa's soy rust task force.
Soy rust first appeared in Brazil in 2001 and has spread to nearly all of Brazil's soy producing regions. According to Embrapa estimates, soy rust caused the loss of 4.5 million tonnes of soybeans in 2003-04 (October-September) season, writes the American Soybean Association this week.
Brazil is the world's number two soy producer after the US and its soy business represents about 32 per cent of overall Brazilian farm trade.
Prices for the crop, increasingly used as a health food ingredient, reached 15 year highs in recent months on the back of a drawdown in global stocks last year but relief is expected this year with the US department of agriculture estimating that the global soy stocks-to-use ratio has moved up by two days to 90 days.
The Brazilian government also has extended the repayment schedule for official credit to soybean producers in the 2004-05 season to allow them to stock beans.
Brazilian soybean exports totaled 920,600 tonnes in October, some 56 per cent lower than the 2.12 million tonnes exported a year earlier, according to preliminary figures issued by the Foreign Trade Secretariat last week.
October soyoil exports totaled 89,400 tonnes, down 65 per cent from the 258,600 tonnes shipped in the same month last year and nearly half the 169,400 tonnes exported in September.