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May 19, 2016

Safrinha Corn Yields in Mato Grosso Worse in 5 Years

Farmers in Mato Grosso are having a tough year. First, their soybean crop was impacted by some of the worst weather in recent memory and now their safrinha corn crop is ending up disappointing as well. The Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea) has been lowering their estimate of the safrinha corn production in the state and they have indicated that their production estimate could move even lower going forward.

What happens to the crops in Mato Grosso is important because it is the largest grain producing state in Brazil and responsible for more than 35% of the safrinha corn crop and half of Brazil's corn exports.

Imea recently increased their estimate of the safrinha corn acreage in the state. They now estimate that the acreage increased 5.6% compared to last year, but they are forecasting that the total corn production will decrease by 12% to 23.1 million tons and that estimate is likely to move even lower. Corn yields in the state are estimated to be down 16.5% to 90.7 sacks/ha (83.8 bu/ac).

If verified, this would be lowest safrinha corn yield in five years and certainly the worst since GMO technology became important for the safrinha corn crop in Mato Grosso in 2010/11.

Ever since the year 2000 when Mato Grosso became an important corn producer, the weather has been very beneficial for corn and soybean production in the state. As a result, the acreage for both crops continued to expand and the yields increased especially for the safrinha corn. This year though. That did not happen. Hot and dry conditions during November and December severely impacted the soybean crop. After a disappointing soybean crop, farmers were hoping for good weather during April and May to give them a good corn crop, but that did not happen either.