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August 11, 2011

Safrinha Corn Crop Disappointing Across Southern Brazil

The safrinha corn crop in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul has had a turbulent growing season. It was planted much later than normal due to the delayed soybean harvest. It then encountered 30 to 45 days of dry weather shortly after being planted and then freezing temperatures on June 28 and 29. The season is ending with additional problems as wet weather and more freezing temperatures impacted the crop late last week.

According the latest monthly report from Conab, the safrinha corn production in the state is approximately 9 million sacks lower than earlier estimates which correlate to R$ 200 lost income for farmers in the state. In February and March farmers in the state had already seen their soybean crop reduced by heavy rains which represented a loss of R$ 700 million.

Conab estimates that the late planting of the safrinha corn and the freezing temperatures of late June reduced the average corn yield in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul by 23% from 4,050 kg/ha (62 bu/ac) in 2010 to 3,100 kg/ha (47 bu/ac). Mato Grosso do Sul suffered the largest yield reduction in southern Brazil followed by a 17% reduction in the state of Parana, and an 8% reduction in Sao Paulo.

According to researchers at the Mato Grosso do Sul Foundation, approximately half of the safrinha corn in the state was planted after the official planting window had closed on March 10th. The later planted corn suffered severe losses from the cold temperature, while the normally planted corn was mature enough to escape any losses from the freezing temperatures.

Even though the safrinha corn acreage in Mato Grosso do Sul hit a record at 943,000 hectares, the total production will be the lowest in three years. The combination of lower domestic corn production and tight world supplies has continued to strengthen domestic corn prices. Domestic corn prices in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul are in the range of R$ 24.00 to R$ 27.00 per sack, which is approximately 70% to 90% higher than prices in 2010.