May 23, 2013

Safrinha Corn Production in Brazil being impacted by Dry Weather

Recent dryness in Brazil has led to some concerns about the potential yields of the safrinha corn crop, which will begin to be harvested starting in June. Mato Grosso is the largest safrinha corn producing state and the lack of rain has impacted the late planted corn in the state. Farmers in the state planted 80% of the corn during the normal planting window, but the remaining 20% was planted later than normal during the first half of March.

The last widespread significant rainfall in the state was during the first half of April, so the late planted corn has been going through its development under increasing moisture stress. Statewide yield estimates for the corn in Mato Grosso is in the range of 95 sacks per hectare (5,700 kg/ha or 88 bu/ac), which is less than the 104 sacks per hectare (6,240 kg/ha or 96 bu/ac) achieved last growing season. Due to increased acreage, the state is expected to harvest approximately 16 million tons of corn or about 6% more than in 2012.

Parana is the second leading safrinha corn producing state and dry weather in the northern half of the state has also impacted the safrinha crop. According to the Department of Rural Economics (Deral), 10% of the corn was planted later than normal and is still susceptible to lower yields due to moisture stress. The average yield in the state is expected to be 87 sacks per hectare (5,229 kg/ha or 80.3 bu/ac) with a total production of 11.2 million tons or 9% more than last growing season.

The last cold front to enter the state resulted in approximately 1.5 inches of rainfall in western Parana, 3-4 inches in southern Parana, and one inch in southeastern Parana, but very little in the northern part of the state where 40% of the safrinha corn is grown. Farmers in northern Parana estimate that the yields may have been reduced 15%. The crop could also be subject to losses from frost which although rare, can occur during the months of June or July.

Dry weather has also been reported to have impacted safrinha corn production in Goias and Mato Grosso do Sul as well. Conab is currently estimating the safrinha corn production at 43.1 million tons, but that estimate may decline in future reports.