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July 28, 2015

Piles of Corn grow at Grain Elevators in Mato Grosso

Farmers in Mato Grosso, Brazil are in the process of harvesting a record large safrinha corn crop, but the harvest pace has been slowed somewhat due to the lack of adequate storage in the state. Corn is already being piled outside in the cities of Sorriso and Nova Mutum located in central Mato Grosso even though the harvest is only half complete. Farmers are reporting that their harvest activity has been slowed due to a lack of trucks to haul the grain to the local grain elevator.

Storing the corn in open-air piles is not the normal procedure so it is taking a longer time to unload trucks at the grain elevators. Some truckers have been waiting an entire day to unload and with a lack of on-farm storage, farmers can't continue harvesting until empty trucks return.

Part of the current problem can be traced back to the trucker strike earlier this year. During the three week strike, less soybeans were moved out of the state than anticipated thus keeping some of the grain silos full of soybeans longer than usual. Some farmers and grain elevators are using silo bags to make up for the lack of permanent storage, but even with silo bags, the record large safrinha corn crop has overwhelmed the storage situation.

It is currently the dry season in Mato Grosso, so there is a low risk of rainfall for another month or two, but the strong El Nino in the Pacific Ocean worries grain elevator operators. Southern Brazil has seen record rainfall during the month of July and the concern is that El Nino could result in rainfall during a time of the year when it is normally very dry. These piles must be disposed of by mid to late September when the first rains of the new growing season arrive.

One solution to this ongoing problem is to ship more of the corn out of ports on the Amazon River, but there has been slow progress on completing highway BR-163 northward to barging operations on the Amazon River. Until this highway is completed, there will be limited amounts of soybeans and corn shipped northward out of Mato Grosso. This highway was scheduled to be completed years ago, but now the completion date has been pushed back to maybe late in 2015 or in 2016.