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June 10, 2020

Brazilian Farmers to Plant 6.7% more Wheat in 2020

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

After several months of irregular rains in southern Brazil, rains over the last several weeks have helped to recharge the soil moisture after one of the driest growing seasons in recent memory especially in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. Farmers in southern Brazil have taken advantage of the improved soil moisture to start planting their 2020 winter wheat. Attractive wheat prices have also encouraged farmers to increase their wheat acreage in 2020.

Conab is estimating that Brazil will plant 2.17 million hectares of wheat, which would be an increase of 6.7% compared to last year. The 2020 national wheat yield is estimated at 2,613 kg/ha (38.6 bu/ac), which is up 3% compared to last year. Total production is estimated at 5.7 million tons or 10.4% more than last year. The domestic demand for wheat is estimated at 12.5 million tons with 7.3 million tons of wheat imports.

Parana is the largest wheat producing state in Brazil and farmers in the state had planted 75% of the wheat as of earlier last week according to the Department of Rural Economics (Deral). The wheat in Parana is 30% germinating, 69% in vegetative development, and 1% flowering. The wheat is rated 4% poor, 19% average, and 77% good.

In Rio Grande do Sul, farmers have started to plant their wheat and most of the wheat will be planted during June and July. Farmers in Rio Grande do Sul are hoping that their wheat production will be able to compensate in part for their disastrous summer crops of soybeans and corn. Rio Grande do Sul is coming off of one of the driest summer growing seasons in recent memory with soybean production down approximately 45% from initial expectations and the corn production down 31% to 35%.

The soil moisture has been recharged in recent weeks allowing farmers to start planting their winter crops especially wheat.

Wheat production is always a challenge in Brazil with the biggest problem being excessive rainfall when the crop is being harvested in October and November. In an effort to overcome part of the problems producing wheat in Brazil, there has been an effort in recent years to produce more wheat in the cerrado regions of central Brazil. The wheat in central Brazil would be grown during the dry season, so it would have to be irrigated. Early results are promising, but irrigated wheat production in central Brazil will always be minor compared to the wheat produced in southern Brazil.