Brazil Crop Production Year-end Wrap-up

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

2010/11 - Brazil Soybeans

  • Brazilian soybean farmers were very pleased with their 2010/11 soybean crop.
  • Brazil produced a record soybean crop in 2010/11 of 75.5 million tons, which was 7 million tons more than the previous year or an increase of 10%.
  • Brazilian farmers planted 24.3 million hectares of soybeans in 2010/11, up 1.8 million hectares or 8% compared to 2009/10.
  • Generally favorable weather during the growing season resulted in a record nationwide soybean yield of 3,115 kg/ha or 45.2 bu/ac.
  • Every major soybean producing state in Brazil recorded record soybean yields in 2010/11 except for the state of Mato Grosso do Sul.
  • In addition to record high yields, Brazilian soybean farmers sold their 2010/11 soybean crop for very good prices due to a disappointing soybean crop in the United States and strong demand from China.
  • Brazil exported record levels of soybeans in 2010/11 with China purchasing two thirds of Brazil's exports.

2010/11 - Brazil Corn

  • Farmers in Brazil were not as pleased with their 2010/11 corn crop especially the safrinha corn.
  • Brazil produced 57.5 million tons of corn in 2010/11, which was 3 million tons more than in 2009/10, but much lower than initial expectations at the start of the growing season.
  • The full-season corn crop turned out fairly good at 36 million tons or 62% of the total corn crop.
  • The disappointment came in the safrinha corn crop which is planted primarily in Mato Grosso and Parana after the early maturing soybeans are harvested.
  • Farmers planted the safrinha corn very late due to a delayed start in planting the soybeans and heavy rains which then delayed the soybean harvest.
  • For best results, the safrinha corn should be planted by the end of February, but much of the crop was not planted until later in March.
  • The safrinha corn crop turned out to be disappointing in Mato Grosso due to an early end of the rainy season before the crop had completed the grain filling process.
  • In Parana the safrinha corn crop turned out disappointing as well due to a severe freeze at the end of June that ended the growing season prematurely.
  • The safrinha crop ended up producing 21.5 million tons or 38% of Brazil's total corn crop.
  • Fortunately for the farmers, corn prices strengthened at the time they were selling their crop, so the higher prices partially compensated for the lower safrinha production.

2010/11 - Brazil Sugarcane

  • The one sector of Brazilian agriculture that was very disappointing in 2010/11 was the sugarcane harvest.
  • Total sugarcane tonnage in Brazil was down 10% in 2010/11.
  • Sugar production was down 3-4% and ethanol production was down a whopping 17%.
  • Sugarcane producers attribute the disappointing sugarcane yields to a number of factors including: an extended dry season in 2010, two episodes of freezing temperatures in June and then again in August, and a lack of credit needed to renovate existing sugarcane fields resulting in an ageing sugarcane crop.
  • As a result of tight ethanol supplies, domestic ethanol prices climbed to record levels early in 2011 and Brazil needed to import ethanol to meet the domestic demand.
  • The Brazilian sugar/ethanol sector needs heavy investments over the next few years to turn around the situation.
  • Unfortunately, it will probably take several years before those investments result in a robust ethanol sector.