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January 30, 2012

Rains Delay Safrinha Cotton Planting in Mato Grosso

The nearly continuous wet weather in Mato Grosso has not only slowed the soybean harvest, it has also slowed the planting of the safrinha cotton crop. Farmers in the state were expected to plant 14,400 hectares of safrinha cotton in 2011/12, but only 60% of the intended cotton acreage has been planted. Generally the planting window for safrinha in the state closes about the end of January, but if necessary, the cotton could be planted until mid-February.

The vast majority of cotton in Mato Grosso (80%) is full-season cotton planted during the month of December. The developing full-season cotton has also been impacted by the wet weather. The wet conditions and lack of sunshine has slowed the crop's development and producers are concerned about increased disease pressure due to the wet weather. Combining the full-season and the safrinha cotton, Mato Grosso is expected to plant 733,000 hectares of cotton in 2011/12, which is up only slightly compared to 2010/11

Cotton is grown in three distinct regions of Mato Grosso. The main planting region for cotton in the state is in the southeastern region where the vast majority is full-season cotton. In western Mato Grosso as well as in central and northern Mato Grosso, it is planted mainly as a second crop after soybeans.

In the municipality of Sorriso, which is located in central Mato Grosso, farmers are expected to plant 18,000 hectares of cotton, but only 3,500 of those hectares (20%) are full-season cotton planted in December and 14,500 hectares are safrinha cotton planted in January after the soybeans are harvested. According to data from the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea), 80% of the farmers in the municipality will plant some safrinha cotton, but most will plant safrinha corn. The 2011/12 soybean acreage in the municipality is estimated at 614,000 hectares.

Of the total safrinha corps in the state, cotton is quite small at 14,400 hectares compared to an estimated 2.2 million hectares of safrinha corn expected to be planted in the state in 2011/12.

Nationwide, Brazil is expected to plant 1.4 million hectares of cotton, which is up less than one half of one percent compared to last year. The lack of enthusiasm for increased cotton production is a direct result of cotton prices being much lower than last year. Currently, cotton prices in Brazil are more than 50% lower than last year. Brazilian farmers had a fantastic cotton year last year especially if they took advantage of the record high prices and forward sold their production.

Mato Grosso is the largest cotton producing state in Brazil with the vast majority exported to other regions of Brazil and internationally. China is the number importer of Mato Grosso cotton at 35%, followed by Indonesia at 13%, and South Korea at 12%.