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June 23, 2011

Harvest Underway of Safrinha Corn and Cotton in Central Brazil

Farmers in central Brazil are starting to harvest their last two crops of the 2010/11 growing season namely safrinha corn and cotton. According to the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea), farmers are into the second week of harvesting their safrinha corn with approximately 3% of the crop harvested. During the same period in 2010, 12% of the corn had been harvested.

The slower harvest pace is the result of delays in planting the corn due to a delayed soybean planting last fall and heavy rains during the soybean harvest. Much of the corn was planted after the ideal planting window had closed on February 20th. Due to the heavy rains in February and early March, the Brazilian government allowed farmers to plant their corn outside the normal planting window and still qualify for government programs such as crop insurance.

The early corn yields should be the best because the earlier planted corn entered its grain filling period before the rains ended in early April. The later planted corn is expected to suffer very significant yield losses due to the dry weather that afflicted the crop during pollination and grain filling.

Farmers in the state planted 1.7 million hectares of safrinha corn in 2011 compared to 1.9 million hectares in 2010. Imea estimates that the total production will be 7.5 million tons, which if realized, would be 10% below the 2010 production, which was also negatively impacted by dry weather.

Imea also indicated in their weekly report that cotton farmers in the state have now harvested 2% of the 722,600 hectares planted to cotton in the state. The cotton harvest has started several weeks earlier than last year when farmers started to harvest their crop in early July. The yield of the full season cotton is expected to be good, but the safrinha cotton crop was also impacted by the early onset of the dry season.