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June 23, 2016

Brazilian Farmers Continue to Report Disappointing Corn Yields

Corn producers across Brazil continue to report very disappointing safrinha corn yields. The Soybean & Corn Producer Association of Mato Grosso do Sul (Aprosoja/MS) is estimating that the safrinha corn crop in the state will be 33% smaller than originally expected due to adverse weather during the growing season and freezing temperatures late in the season. As a result, they are now estimating the safrinha corn production in the state at 6.3 million tons, which is down 3.2 million tons from their original estimate of 9.5 million tons.

They are estimating the average safrinha corn yield in the state at 59.9 sacks per hectare (55.3 bu/ac), which is down from their prior estimate of 68.0 sacks per hectare (62.8 bu/ac). The yields though are highly variable and the final production won't be known until the harvest is complete.

The problems for the safrinha crop started early with too much rain during planting, followed by an extended period of hot and dry weather. The last problem for the crop was a prolonged period of freezing temperatures over the last two weeks in the southern part of the state that cut short the grain filling process. The freezing temperatures ended the growing season and as a result, the ears stopped developing resulting in smaller kernels and lighter ears.

Corn producers in the Federal District, where Brasilia is located, are also reporting very low corn yield. Their problem was dry weather during the months of February, March, and April. During that three month period, the Federal District normally receives 550 mm of precipitation (22 inches), but this year they received only 240 mm (9.6 inches) or 43% of the normal rainfall. The dry weather was also accompanied by very high temperatures resulting in corn loses of up to 70%.

Officials in the Federal District declared a state of emergency in early June as a way to help producers renegotiate their production loans with the banks in the hope of prolonging their payments. It is also aimed at helping producers to negotiate with the grain companies when they do not have enough corn to fulfill their forward contracts.