June 9, 2011

Agencies Differ on Safrinha Corn Production in Mato Grosso

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

The only reaming grain crop in Brazil that could still be impacted by the weather is the safrinha corn crop. The state of Mato Grosso is the largest producer of safrinha corn in Brazil (the state of Parana is second), but the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea) and Conab are not in agreement concerning the safrinha corn production in the state.

In Conab's June report, they estimated that farmers in Mato Grosso planted 1.8 million hectares of safrinha corn, which is 5% less than last year. They estimated the statewide corn yield at 3,900 kg/ha (approximately 60 bu/ac) with a total production of 7.05 million tons, which is 8% less than last year.

For their part, Imea is much more pessimistic toward the crop. In their latest evaluation, they indicated that losses due to dry weather are more severe than originally estimated. They are estimating that the safrinha corn acreage in the state declined 10% compared to last year and the total safrinha corn production will be down 20% compared to last year (6.73 million tons compared to 8.41 million tons). Imea officials have also indicated that losses may even be greater than what they are currently estimating.

Two factors are causing the lower production. First, the planting of the safrinha corn in the state was delayed due to the late planting of the soybean crop last fall and heavy rains which delayed the soybean harvest. The normal planting window for safrinha corn in Mato Grosso normally closes about February 28, but some of the corn wasn't planted until the second half of March. Imea estimated that approximately 500,000 hectares (approximately one third of the total acreage) were planted after the planting window had closed.

The second and most important factor is that the rainy season ended about a month earlier than normal resulting in major moisture stress on the crop. Normally, the last rains in Mato Grosso occur sometime in early May, but this year many regions of the state received their last rain in early April. Unfortunately, it turned dry only a month after some of the latest corn was planted.

Producer organizations in the state are even more pessimistic about the crop indicating that losses statewide might reach 40%. Imea indicated that the greatest losses are concentrated in three regions of the state. In western Mato Grosso losses are estimated at 18%, in the north central region losses are estimated at 13%, and in the south central region losses are estimated at 12%.

The safrinha corn harvest in Mato Grosso will begin during the second half of June and continue through July.