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January 20, 2012

Cotton Planting in Mato Grosso Slowed due to Wet Weather

Planting of the 2011/12 cotton crop in Mato Grosso is being slowed by the recent wet weather in the state. According to the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea), 63% of the state's cotton crop was planted as of last week, which is slower than normal. There are actually two cotton crops in the state, the full-season cotton planted in December and the safrinha cotton crop planted after the harvest of the early maturing soybeans. The planting delays now being encountered are primarily for the safrinha cotton due to a delayed start to the soybean harvest. Imea estimated that 1.2% of the state's soybeans have been harvested as of last week when normally 4% to 5% would be harvested by this date.

The weather forecast does not hold out much hope for dryer weather any time soon. According to Somar Meteorologia, the wet weather should persist in the state for the next two weeks. If the forecast verifies, then the cotton planting window may be about to close before the entire crop is planted. Generally farmers in the state would like to have their cotton planted by the end of January, but that could be extended until mid-February if necessary. Continued wet weather through the end of January could result is some of the unplanted cotton acres being switched to additional safrinha corn production instead.

Cotton producers in Brazil are not as enthusiastic about their cotton production this year as they were last year at this time due to lower cotton prices. A year ago, farmers in Brazil greatly increased their cotton acreage due primarily to record cotton prices. This year cotton prices are at more normal levels and as a result, farmers in Brazil are expected to plant 1.4 million hectares of cotton which would be only 0.4% more than last year.

Mato Grosso remains the largest cotton producing state in Brail with 723,500 hectares of production (unchanged from last year) or 51.5% of the total cotton acreage in Brazil. Bahia is the second largest producing state with 415,000 hectares or 30% of Brazil's total. The cotton acreage in Bahia is 2.5% more than last year.

Full-season cotton in Mato Grosso is generally planted in December and safrinha cotton is generally planted in January. Non-irrigated full-season cotton in western Bahia and Goias is generally planted the second half of November or early December. Irrigated cotton in western Bahia is generally planted in January.