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March 10, 2020

End of Safrinha Planting Window Approaching in Brazil

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

Rio Grande do Sul full-season corn - The corn crop in the state has been significantly impacted by the dry weather. Last week, Emater lowered their estimate of the state's full-season corn production by 21% from its earlier estimate to 4.7 million tons. The full-season corn in the state is 50% harvested, but the corn estimate might still move lower if the dry weather persists.

Rio Grande do Sul is usually Brazil's largest producer of full-season corn, but with the lower production this growing season, the state will come in second this year to the state of Minas Gerais as the number one producer of full-season corn in Brazil.

The safrinha corn nationwide is 75-80% planted and generally the planting ends about March 10th to March 15th, but record high corn prices may encourage farmers to plant their safrinha corn later than recommended this year.

Mato Grosso safrinha corn - According to the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea), farmers in Mato Grosso have planted 98% of their safrinha corn and they had planted 92% of their safrinha corn by the end of February. Imea estimates that farmers increased their safrinha corn acreage by 5% this year to 5.0 million hectares and that the state will produce 32.4 million tons of corn. If achieved, that would equate to a yield of 6,480 kg/ha or 99.7 bu/ac.

The long range forecast for the state is for good rains during March, but during the month of April, the rains could vary greatly depending on the region. In the municipality of Sorriso, which is the largest safrinha producing municipality in Brazil, the forecast is for 273 mm of rainfall during March (10.9 inches) and 173 mm during April (6.9 inches), both of which would be above the average compared to the last several years. If that forecast verifies, the safrinha corn crop in Mato Grosso should be very good.

Parana safrinha corn - Deral reported that the safrinha corn in Parana was 72% planted last week. Farmers are encouraged by the strong corn prices, but the ideal planting window has closed and they will probably not plant corn past the end of this week. Farmers who planted their safrinha corn earlier in February are hoping for good yields in the range of 130 sacks per hectare (120 bu/ac).

If the safrinha corn production is disappointing, then domestic corn prices in Brazil could remain strong through 2020. Some livestock producers are already out bidding exporters for available corn supplies, and if that were to continue, Brazil's corn exports during the second half of 2020 could end up being lower than anticipated. That could open the door for some additional corn exports from the U.S.