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February 26, 2020

Half of Brazil's Safrinha Corn Planted after Ideal Window Closes

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

Given the current planting pace, an estimated 50% of the safrinha corn in Brazil should be planted during the ideal planting window which will close later this week, another 30% should be planted somewhat late, and the last 20% should be planted extra late, but those percentages will depend on the weather over the next three weeks. Generally, Brazilian farmers will not plant their safrinha corn past about March 10th to March 15th.

There has been a strong price incentive for Brazilian farmers to plant as much safrinha corn as possible. Available corn supplies are very tight and the price for corn in Mato Grosso increased 1.9% last week to R$ 38.42 per sack (approximately $4.20 per bushel). Domestic corn prices are expected to remain strong through 2020.

Conab projects an 8.4 million ton carryover for the 2019/20 corn crop which represents a 6 week supply. Domestic corn consumption is expected to increase 5 million tons in 2019/20 to approximately 68 million tons due to strong meat exports and increased usage of corn to produce ethanol. Brazil exported 42 million tons of corn in 2019, but exports are expected to decline in 2020 in the range of 30-40 million tons.

The state of Mato Grosso is the largest safrinha corn producing state in Brazil responsible for approximately 38% of the planted acreage followed by Parana at 17%, Mato Grosso do Sul at 14%, Goias at 11%, and Sao Paulo at 3.8%.

Parana full-season corn - Deral estimated that the full-season corn in Parana was 23% harvested last week and that the production would be 3.3 million tons or an increase of 5% compared to last year.

Rio Grande do Sul full-season corn - The full-season corn in the state is 46% harvested with very disappointing yields in the dryer areas of the state. The earliest planted corn will probably end up with the highest yields because it was completing its growth cycle before the dry weather set in during December and January.

Mato Grosso safrinha corn - According to the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea), farmers in the state had planted 79.6% of their safrinha corn late last week compared to 86.5% last year and 72.7% average. This represented an advance of 16.4% for the week. Imea stated that on average, 88% of the safrinha corn in Mato Grosso is generally planted by the end of February and that farmers in the state should equal that number or surpass it this year.

Parana safrinha corn - Deral estimated that the safrinha corn in Parana was 32% planted earlier last week and that farmers will plant 2.16 million hectares of safrinha corn in 2019/20. They estimate that the state will produce 12.4 million tons of safrinha corn, but that would still be 7% lower than last year. The safrinha corn acreage declined this year and the yield is expected to be lower this year due to later planting.

Goias - The recent wet weather in southwestern Goias has slowed down the soybean harvest and the subsequent planting of the safrinha corn. The ideal planting window is the month of February, but s significant portion of the safrinha corn will be planted in March. Corn planted in early March could still yield OK if the weather during April and May cooperates.

My breakdown for the 2019/20 Brazilian corn crop is as follows:

  • Full-season corn - 24.3 million tons or 24% of the total corn crop.
  • Safrinha corn 74.5 million tons or 74% of the total corn crop.
  • Third corn crop - 1.1 million tons or 1% of the total corn crop.