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June 3, 2013

Wheat Production in Rio Grande do Sul Expected to Increase 32%

According to a recent survey conducted by Emater/RS, the wheat acreage in Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil is expected to increase 3.85% compared to last year to 1.027 million hectares. The total wheat production in the state is expected to increase 32% from 1.86 million tons in 2012 to 2.47 million tons in 2013. In the major wheat producing regions of the state, the wheat acreage should increase 10% in Santa Maria, 7% in Passo Fundo, 1% in Ijui, and 2.5% in Santa Rosa. The acreage survey was conducted during the month of May in 268 municipalities that account for 91% of wheat produced in the state.

In addition to increased wheat acreage, the wheat yields in the state are expected to return to more normal levels. The ten-year average yield in the state is 2,409 kg/ha (approximately 37 bu/ac), but last year's yields were only 1,941 kg/ha (approximately 30 bu/ac).

Excessive rains have slowed the initial planting of the wheat crop in the state. Only 5% of the wheat has been planted compared to 8% last year at this time. The fastest planting pace has been in the region of Santa Rosa where 10% of the wheat has been planted. The majority of wheat planting in the state should occur between June 15th and July 15th.

A chronic problem for wheat producers in the state is the possibility of heavy rains during the harvest, which primarily occurs during the month of November. The heavy rains can result in lower yields and poorer quality of the grain. Wheat is the only major grain for which Brazil is not self-sufficient, which forces the country to import approximately half of its domestic needs. Most of Brazil'gs wheat imports come from neighboring Argentina.