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December 16, 2016

Brazilian Cotton Production to Rebound 9.7% in 2016/17

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

Cotton producers in northeastern Brazil are hoping for a much better 2016/17 cotton crop compared to the disastrous crop of 2015/16. The weather thus far in northeastern Brazil this growing season has been favorable and if it continues this way, the 2016/17 Brazilian cotton crop in northeastern Brazil is expected to be 20% larger than last year. Northeastern Brazil produces approximately 25% of Brazil's cotton.

Nationwide, the 2016/17 Brazilian cotton crop is expected to be 1.41 million tons or 9.7% more than the 1.28 million tons produced last year. According to Conab, the nationwide 2016/17 Brazilian cotton acreage is expected to be down 5.5% compared to last year, but yields are expected to be 16% higher. The reduction in acreage is mostly in northeastern Brazil in the states of Bahia, Piaui, Maranhao, and Tocantins where the 2015/16 cotton crop was very disappointing due to hot and dry conditions.

The initial estimate for the 2015/16 Brazilian cotton crop was 1.5 million tons, but the crop actually ended up at 1.28 million tons. As a result, some farmers in northeastern Brazil decided to plant more soybeans and corn this year instead of an expensive crop of cotton.

Mato Grosso is the largest cotton producing state in Brazil with approximately 66% of Brazil total production. The cotton acreage in Mato Grosso is expected to decline 1.5% to 592,000 hectares, but the yields are expected to increase 7.6% due to improved weather.

More than 80% of the cotton produced in Mato Grosso is safrinha cotton grown as a second crop after soybeans are harvested. The ideal planting window for safrinha cotton in the state closes at about the end of January. All the safrinha cotton in the state is expected to be planted on time this year because of the early planting of the soybeans.

Soybeans that will be followed by a second crop of cotton are usually some of the earliest planted in the state. Good rains in early September allowed farmers in the state to start planting their soybeans as soon as the soybean-free period ended on September 15th. These first-planted soybeans are also early maturing soybeans and they should be ready to start harvesting in early January, if the weather is not excessively wet.