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June 29, 2011

Farmers in Mato Grosso Disagree with Official Corn Estimates

Farmers in Mato Grosso have harvested approximately 10% of their safrinha corn crops and they are getting started on harvesting their cotton crops as well. As far as corn yields are concerned, there is a definite difference of opinion concerning how the early onset of dry weather has impacted the safrinha corn crop in Mato Grosso. The official estimating institutions are much more optimistic concerning the corn yields than are the farmers in the state.

Generally farmers in the state are reporting losses in their corn fields of 30%, 40%; up to 50%, but the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea) as well as Conab are not nearly as pessimistic as are the farmers. Conab is estimating that the yields will be down only 3.5% compared to last year and Imea is estimating that yields will be down approximately 10%.

Conab is estimating that there will be 7.0 million tons of safrinha corn produced in the state and Imea is estimating that 6.7 million tons will be produced. Both agencies are using yields much higher than what is expected by farmers in the state. The safrinha crop of 2008/09 was one of the best ever in the state and it averaged 84.5 sacks per hectare or 78 bu/ac. Imea is currently estimating the current crop at 64.1 sacks per hectare (59 bu/ac) and Conab is estimating it at 65 sacks per hectare (60 bu/ac).

In addition to problems in Mato Grosso, the largest outbreak of cold air thus far this season has been spreading over southern Brazil during the last few days. Frosts and freezing temperatures are expected over a wide area of southern Brazil, but the safrinha corn in northern Parana may escape the coldest temperature. Even though it may not be cold enough to kill the corn, it will be cold enough to shock the plants (mid 30s) and slow the maturation process.

My Brazilian corn estimate remains unchanged at 53 million tons, which is 3.7 million tons below Conab's June estimate of 56.7 million tons.