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January 10, 2011

Brazilian Cotton Acreages Surges in 2010/11

Cotton is certainly turning out to be one of the surprise stories in Brazilian agricultural in 2010/11. Total cotton acreage in Brazil is expected to increase 45.3% in 2010/11 to 1,214,000 hectares. Yields are also expected to increase 6.4% compared to last year due to improved growing conditions and improved technology. The nationwide yield of the 2009/10 cotton crop in Brazil ended up being disappointing due to an early onset of the dry season last April.

Mato Grosso is the leading cotton producing state in Brazil and farmers in the state are expected to increase their cotton acreage 43% to 600,000 hectares. In Mato Grosso, the biggest increase occurred in the full season cotton acreage due in part to the delayed start of the soybean planting. With the late start to soybean planting, some farmers in the state opted to forgo some of their intended soybean acres and instead planted additional full season cotton. Safrinha cotton acreage in the state is also expected to increase in 2010/11.

On the national level, cotton yields are expected to increase 6.4% from 3,634 kg/ha in 2009/10 to 3,866 kg/ha in 2010/11. In addition to improved weather, use of improved cotton varieties is expected to contribute to the improved yields. The statewide cotton yield in Mato Grosso is expected to be 3,900 kg/ha and in Goias, it is expected to be even better at 4,170 kg/ha.

In spite of strong prices and increased production, an ongoing concern for cotton farmers in Brazil is the continued lack of adequate infrastructure to efficiency move the increased production into export markets. An additional concern is the strong Brazilian currency that can make Brazilian exports less competitive.