(Adds details from Conab report)
SAO PAULO, April 11 (Reuters) - Brazil’s agricultural statistics agency Conab on Tuesday raised for the fourth time this year its estimate for the country’s 2016/17 soybean crop, now seen at 110.2 million tonnes, a 2.4 percent increase from March’s forecast.
The agency said corn output in the season should reach 91.5 million tonnes, compared to 88.9 million tonnes estimated last month, as favorable weather for grains continue to boost crop prospects in Brazil.
Conab said large producing states such as Mato Grosso, Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul and Goiás may all post productivity gains due to good climate. Technological advances that made soy more resistant to plagues was also a factor.
Right now, farmers are almost concluding the harvest in many Brazilian states.
Soy and corn account for nearly 90 percent of Brazilian grain production, which is expected to reach 227.9 million tonnes this harvest, a 22 percent rise from last year as farmers increased the size of soy and corn planted area, Conab said.
The government also raised Brazil’s soybean export forecast to 61 million tonnes for the current crop, but said the estimate will only be confirmed if the country boosts shipments in the coming months through September, when U.S. farmers begin to harvest their crop.
Conab said exports in March were below expectations, adding the reason were low sales from producers in Paraná and Mato Grosso in the face of depressed international prices and the strength of the local currency.
Conab kept unchanged its estimate for local corn consumption at 56.1 million, saying a food safety scandal in March, which affected meat exports and demand for animal feed, was controlled by the government quickly.
For soy, domestic consumption should only rise 7 percent in the current season to 46.5 million tonnes, Conab said. (Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Bernard Orr)