June 13, 2014

Wheat Production Increasing in Brazil's Cerrado Region

Even though Brazilian farmers have marched to the forefront in world agricultural production, wheat is the one major crop for which Brazil has not been able to become self-sufficient. That may now be slowly changing with increased emphasis from the federal government on increasing wheat production in central Brazil.

Traditionally, wheat production in Brazil has been concentrated in southern Brazil led by the states of Parana and Rio Grande do Sul where the vast majority of Brazil's wheat has been produced. The Brazilian Agricultural Research Service, Embrapa, has been working with the Secretary of Agriculture and Livestock (Seapa) to stimulate wheat production in the cerrado regions of central Brazil and wheat production appears to be gaining ground in the region.

In the state of Minas Gerais for example, Seapa is estimating that farmers have planted 48,200 hectares of wheat in 2013/14, which would be 33% more than last year. The wheat production in the state is expected to be 158,000 tons or 32% more than in 2012/13. Looking forward, Seapa has set a goal of 180,000 hectares and 600,000 tons of wheat production in the state by the year 2020. Wheat in the state of Minas Gerais is planted in March and April and harvested in July and August, thus it does not interfere with the principal summer crops of soybeans, corn, and cotton.

According to Conab, the 2013/14 wheat crop in Brazil is expected to be 7.3 million tons, which would represent an increase of 33% compared to 2012/13. If achieved, it would allow Brazil to reduce its wheat imports from the current 7 million tons to 5.5 million tons. The state of Minas Gerais is expected to be the fourth leading wheat producing state in 2013/14 (158,000 tons) after Parana (3.3 million tons), Rio Grande do Sul (3.0 million tons), and Santa Catarina (224,000 tons).