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May 23, 2011

Dry Weather Takes Toll on Safrinha Corn Crop in Central Brazil

Dry weather in central Brazil has corn farmers concerned about their late-planted safrinha corn crop. The state of Mato Grosso is the largest producer of safrinha corn responsible for 32% of the total planted acreage in Brazil. The safrinha corn in the state was planted later than normal due to the delayed soybean harvest and now the rainy season appears to have ended before much of the corn has had a chance to fill the grain. Most corn producing areas of the state have received less than an inch of rain since early April while at the same time, temperatures have been in the upper 80's to lower 90's.

Approximately half of the safrinha corn crop in Mato Grosso was planted early enough to be assured of having enough soil moisture to complete the grain filling process. The other half of the crop was planted too late and the soil moisture supplies have run out before the grain filling process has been completed. In some of the driest areas, yield losses are expected to be as high as 50%.

The safrinha corn crop in Goias (10% of Brazil's total acreage) is also suffering from dry conditions. In the municipality of Jatai in southern Goias it has been more than a month since the last rain and there is no rain in the forecast. Safrinha corn yields in the region were expected to be 90 sacks per hectare at the start of the growing season (83 bu/ac), but expectations have now been lowered to 76 sacks per hectare (70 bu/ac).

For those farmers who will be lucky enough to still harvest a good crop, the prices of corn in central Brazil are very attractive. The current domestic price for corn in central Brazil is approximately double that of last year at this time.