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May 18, 2017

Popcorn Acreage Rebounds, Mato Grosso Leads Brazil's Production

Not only is the state of Mato Grosso is the largest grain and cattle producing state in Brazil, it also holds the title as the largest popcorn producer as well. The 2017 popcorn production in the state is estimated at 303,722 tons or 266% more than the 82,975 tons produced in 2016. Since it is a very small crop, popcorn acreage is very sensitive to supply and demand factors. The 2015 production was very good which led to an oversupply in the market. As a result, acreage declined in 2016 and the hot and dry weather in 2016 reduced production even more. The result was higher popcorn prices, so farmers increased their acreage in 2017.

Most of the popcorn production in the state is concentrated in the municipality of Campo Novo do Parecis in the western part of the state. In 2017 the popcorn acreage is estimated at 72,654 hectares or 250% more than the 20,715 hectares planted in 2016.

Current popcorn prices in the state are quite good at R$ 43 per sack (approximately $6.30 per bushel) and they are certainly much better that the current corn prices which are below the minimum price guaranteed by the government of R$ 16.50 per sack (approximately $2.40 per bushel).

All the popcorn in the state is planted after the first crop of soybeans is harvested in January and February. Popcorn must compete with regular corn, cotton, and sunflowers for acreage after the soybeans are harvested. In recent years several companies have built processing facilities in the region and they offer production contracts to local farmers to grow popcorn.

The weather thus far has been beneficial for the popcorn crop as it has been for all the crops in the state including: soybeans, corn, cotton, dry beans, and rice.