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April 28, 2016

Safrinha Corn in Brazil Receives Welcomed Rain and Cooler Temps

After a month or more of hot and dry weather, the safrinha corn crop in central Brazil is slated to receive some much needed rain and cooler temperatures this week. The forecast is calling for 1-2 inches of rainfall over a 7-day period starting April 25th. The temperatures are also expected to return to more seasonal levels and in fact, the first frosts of the season are expected this week in Rio Grande do Sul and at the higher elevations of Santa Catarina and Parana.

Even though the weather is improving in central Brazil this week, unfortunately the damage has already been done to the safrinha corn, especially in the hardest hit areas. I would rank the states in order of the damage done to the safrinha corn crop as follows: Goias, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso do Sul, Sao Paulo, Parana, and eastern Mato Grosso. In some of the hardest hit areas of central Brazil, the safrinha corn crop has been 40-50 days without rain. It is estimated that 50% or more of the safrinha corn is in some level of moisture distress.

The development of the safrinha corn crop in Brazil is very spread out this year with some of the most advanced corn well into grain filling while the most delayed corn has only emerged several weeks ago. I would estimate that 50-60% of the corn has already pollinated and is into grain filling while 40-50% of the corn in vegetative development or approaching pollination. In a worst case scenario, the safrinha corn could be hurt by the following percentages: Mato Grosso -5%, Parana -15%, Mato Grosso do Sul -15%, Goias -30%, Minas Gerais -30%, Northeastern Brazil -20%, and Sao Paulo -20%.

The safrinha corn crop has been shrinking on a daily basis due to the adverse weather and the question is now how bad could it be. I lowered my Brazilian corn estimate this week by 3 million tons to 79 million with the possibility that it could move lower in subsequent reports. In a worst case scenario, the Brazilian corn estimate might decline to 75 million tons.

One of the recent developments in Brazil has been the dry weather in northern Parana during the first three weeks of April. The state of Parana is the second leading safrinha corn producing state in Brazil and is responsible for approximately 23% of the total production. Mato Grosso is the leading safrinha corn producing state in Brazil and responsible for 37% of the safrinha corn production according to the latest estimate from Conab. Up until about three weeks ago, the safrinha corn crop in Parana had been rated in good condition especially the earlier planted corn in the western part of the state, but that has now started to change. Northern Parana has entered into a definite dryer cycle with many areas having been three weeks without rain and very high temperatures. This is especially troubling for the later planted corn that may be in the midst of pollination. The showers that have fallen over the last several days should help to stabilize the crop for the time being.