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December 3, 2010

Estimates of Cotton Acreage in Mato Grosso Revised Upwards

The Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea) released their second estimate of the state's crop production on December 2nd and they revised upwards their estimate of the cotton acreage in the state from just last month. They are now estimating that farmers in the state will plant 595,000 hectares of cotton, which is 11.3% more than last month's estimate and 42% more than in 2009/10. Southeast Mato Grosso is expected to produce 48% of the state's cotton crop followed by central areas at 26.4%, and western areas at 23.8%

Imea estimates that the soybean acreage in the state will be 6.21 million hectares, which would be only 0.03% more than last year, but still enough to set a new record for the state. They are estimating the statewide average soybean yield at 3,001 kg/ha (43.5 bu/ac), which is slightly below the 3,026 kg/ha (43.8 bu/ac) recorded during the 2009/10 growing season.

As far as state's corn crop is concerned, Imea is estimating that farmers in the state will plant 1.676 million hectares, which would be 9.3% less than the 1.766 million planted in 2009/10. More than 96% of the corn planted in the state is planted as a second crop after the soybeans are harvested.

Private analysts (including this one) feel that this is a very optimistic estimate considering how late the soybeans were planted in the state. The planting window for the safrinha corn crop ends about the third week of February and corn planted after that date increases the risk of running out of moisture before it completes its life cycle. How late farmers will risk planting safrinha corn will depend on the rains and the price of corn.

If it gets too late to plant corn, farmers in the state may opt to plant less moisture intensive crops such as sorghum, millet, sunflowers, or canola. The total corn acreage in the state will not be known until March when the safrinha planting ends.