South America Calling

Brazilian Safrinha Crop Corn Waiting for More Rain

Lin Tan
By  Lin Tan , DTN China Correspondent

MATO GROSSO, Brazil (DTN) -- Some Brazilian farmers in Mato Grosso state will start harvesting their early planted safrinha (second-crop) corn this week, while farmers in other parts of the country are waiting for more rain to help their corn. Estimates are calling for total Brazil corn production to decrease from last year.

Brazilian 2017-18 total corn production is now seen at 87.1 million metric tons (mmt) (3.43 billion bushels), 10.2 mmt less than last year's total production of 97.9 mmt, according to AgRural, an ag information company in Brazil. First-crop corn production is estimated at 26.2 mmt (1.03 bb), compared to 30.5 mmt last year, while second-crop corn production is pegged to be 60.9 mmt (2.40 bb), compared to 67.4 mmt last year.

Updated: Another Brazilian agricultural consulting firm, Safras & Mercado, projected on Friday that Brazil's total corn production is pegged at 79.02 million metric tons, (3.11 billion bushels) with the safrinha crop projected at 48.76 mmt (1.92 billion bushels).

Brazil farmers plant two corn crops per year. The first crop is planted in the springtime (October in the Southern Hemisphere), while the second crop is planted after soybean harvest, normally from January to March, depending on when the soybean crop is harvested.

"Soybean planting was delayed in many places last year, which caused harvesting delays -- hence the second-crop corn planting was also delayed," said Ricardo Arioli Silva, a farmer in Mato Grosso. "Though some early planted corn is ready to harvest now, many areas are still in different development stages."

Mato Grosso state is the largest second-crop-corn-producing state. Mato Grosso Institute of Agriculture Information (IMEA) estimates that the state will produce 26.4 mmt of corn, compared to 30.5 mmt last year, still the second-largest production.

"In Mato Grosso, the planting windows in the north and west were good, and the areas had enough rain in March and April, even early May," said Silva. "For sure, these areas will have a good harvest. My farm is just lucky to be in this area."

However, other areas of the country still need more rain.

"The rest of the country is dryer," said Silva. "Most of Parana state was dry for at least 15 days, some fields even around 30 days. Rain is badly needed there. Goias state also planted late. Though 30% to 40% of the state is good, the rest is dry and waiting for more rain."

"Trading companies are offering a prices for safrinha corn from R$23.00 ($2.70 per bushel) to R$24.60 per bag ($2.89 per bushel), depending on the date of payment and locations," said Silva. "These are very good prices for local farmers."

The current price, along with the depreciation of the Brazil real, is good for farmers looking to sell their corn crop. The exchange rate of one U.S. dollar to the real is close to 3.7 this week, compared to 3.2 last year. Depreciation of the Brazilian currency increases farmers' income from exporting their products.

Though production may be less than last year, the country will still export about 32 mmt of corn this year, CONAB estimated last week. However, the final export volume will still depend on the final harvest of second-crop corn.

(AG/BAS)

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