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Bayer sees up to 15% of Brazil soy area planted with Intacta2 Xtend GM seed

FILE PHOTO: Logo of German drugmaker Bayer AG

By Roberto Samora

SAO PAULO (Reuters) -Germany's Bayer has forecast that between 10% to 15% of Brazil's soybean area will be sowed with its genetically modified biotech seed Intacta2 Xtend in the 2023/24 season, said Fernando Prudente, who oversees soybeans and cotton for the company in Brazil.

Bayer's Intacta2 Xtend seed is designed to tolerate herbicides including glyphosate and dicamba and protects the plant against caterpillars.

Brazil's soybean planting area totaled 44 million hectares (108.7 million acres) in the 2022/23 season, according to crop agency Conab.

Private sector analysts project the area could grow to up to 45.5 million hectares in the 2023/24 cycle. Based on the upper range of analysts' area forecasts, Bayer's Intacta2 Xtend could reach 6.8 million hectares in the new season.

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According to the executive, the number of Brazilian soy farmers who harvested more than 100 60-kilogram bags per hectare tripled in the 2022/23 marketing year through use of the seed, confirming the technology's appeal.

He said of 150 farmers surveyed by Bayer, the average yield was 105 bags per hectare. He said the highest yield was recorded in the state of Bahia, where a farmer harvested 129 bags of soybeans per hectare.

Brazilian growers will start planting their new soybean crop later this month in the center-west of the country.

The 2023/24 season is Bayer's third supplying the seed in Brazil, the world's biggest producer and exporter of soybeans.

(Reporting by Roberto Samora; Writing by Ana Mano; Editing by Kylie Madry)