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July 15, 2015

Conab Increases Brazil's Soybean and Corn Estimates

In their July Crop Report, which was released last Thursday, Conab increased their estimates for both the 2014/15 Brazilian soybean and corn crops.

The 2014/15 Brazilian soybean estimate was increased by 0.17 million tons to 96.2 million. The 2014/15 Brazilian soybean acreage is now estimated at 31.908 million hectares (78.8 million acres) and the nationwide soybean yield is estimated at 3,016 kg/ha (43.7 bu/ac). This is a record soybean crop of course and 11.7% bigger than the 86.12 million tons produced in 2013/14.

The 2014/15 Brazilian corn estimate was increased 1.6 million tons to 81.8 million. The estimate for the full-season corn actually declined 0.56 million tons to 30.26 million while the estimate for the safrinha corn increased 2.17 million tons to 51.54 million. The safrinha corn crop now represents 63% of Brazil's total corn production. The safrinha corn crop continues to increase its share of Brazil's corn production and I think it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

The number one safrinha corn producing state is Mato Grosso with 35.7% of the total production followed by Parana at 20.9%, Mato Grosso do Sul at 15.8% and Goias at 14.0%. These four states combined produce nearly 90% of the safrinha corn in Brazil.

The full-season corn acreage in Brazil declined this year by 8.4% to 6.05 million hectares (14.9 million acres) while the safrinha corn acreage increased 3.3% to 9.51 million hectares (23.4 million acres). The nationwide yield for the full-season corn is estimated at 4,995 kg/ha (76.9 bu/ac) while the nationwide yield for the safrinha corn is estimated at 5,420 kg/ha (83.4 bu/ac).

Looking at the yields of the two crops, you might wonder why the safrinha corn crop, which is double cropped after soybeans, is higher yielding than the full-season corn crop. The answer is who grows the two crops. The safrinha corn is grown by commercial grain farmers in the center-west and southern regions of Brazil. Conversely, much of the full-season corn is grown by small family farmers in southern Brazil and in northeastern Brazil who grow the corn for their small livestock operations. The small family farmers do not use the latest technology and some of the farmers in northeastern Brazil even still grow the corn by hand, thus the lower yields.