South America Calling

Brazil's Second-Crop Corn Harvest Starts Early

Brazil's second-crop corn harvest began last week, approximately one week early, amid concerns about drought damage.

According to the Mato Grosso Agricultural Economy Institute (IMEA), farmers had harvested 0.37% of the crop as of Friday.

Farmers will likely seek to harvest early corn quickly in an effort to take advantage of record prices. They will be helped in this by the fact that dry weather has accelerated the crop cycle.

Of wider concern is the extent of losses after dry weather ravaged plants in reproductive phases during April, causing forecasters to drop their estimates drastically from around 60 mmt at the turn of the year

However, the return of rains to the west of the grain belt in May helped part of the crop recover and, as such, the crop may not be as small as some feared.

On Friday, Safras e Mercado, a local farm consultancy, pegged second-crop corn at 52.1 mmt, which is down 7% on the year before.

It noted that drought continued in May across eastern Mato Grosso, Minas Gerais and significant parts of Goias but rainfall returned to Parana, Mato Grosso do Sul and the western part of Mato Grosso.

As such, a crop smaller than 50 mmt may be avoided. But with so much corn planted late, the crop outlook could still change significantly over the next month.

(CZ)

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