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February 29, 2012

Safrinha Corn Seed Delivered Late to Farmers in Mato Grosso

Farmers in northern Mato Grosso have been frustrated by the delayed delivery of their safrinha corn seed. The ideal time to plant safrinha corn in northern Mato Grosso is during the month of January, but some farmers have had to wait 30 days after their soybeans were harvested before they received their corn seed. Some of the latest delivers are scheduled for this week, which is certainly on the tail end of the planting window for northern Mato Grosso.

The seed companies explained the situation this way. Due to the increase in full-season corn acreage in Brazil, they sold out of many of the most popular corn hybrids before planting began in September. Realizing that there would be an increased demand for safrinha corn seed, they quickly turned around and planted additional fields of seed corn so it could be harvested in time for planting the safrinha crop. Unfortunately, wet weather in some of the production areas of Minas Gerais resulted in delayed planting and therefore delayed harvesting as well.

In addition to the seed being delivered late, some farmers did not get the hybrid they wanted or the quality of seed they had requested. Both, different hybrids and poorer quality seed could eventually result in lower safrinha corn yields.

There is a significant difference in yield potential for the top tier and second tier corn hybrids in Mato Grosso. Second tier corn hybrids in Mato Grosso might yield 20 to 30 sacks per hectare (18 to 28 bu/ac) less than some of the top tier hybrids. Being forced to plant poorer quality seed can also be a yield drag. The germination will determine the number of plants per hectare, which in turn will determine the number of ears per hectare and the eventual yield. There are reports of corn plant populations in Mato Grosso being less than desired due to poor germination and even a few cases where the seed did not germinate at all.

Even with the above mentioned problems, the safrinha corn crop in Mato Grosso is over 80% planted and it is possible that the entire corn crop in Mato Grosso will be planted by the end of this week. If that does happen, it will be the earliest the planting has been concluded since safrinha corn became an important crop in the state.

After a month of no response from his seed dealer, one farmer had to go to court to force the dealer to deliver the one thousand bags of seed corn that he had already paid for last December. Farmers in Mato Grosso intend to plant 2.3 million hectares of safrinha corn or 27% more than last year with a total production of possibility 10 million tons.