May 24, 2011

Farmers in Parana in Final Phase of Wheat Planting

The farmers in Parana have planted approximately 65% of their intended 2011 winter wheat crop. Parana is the largest wheat producing state in Brazil and they are expected to plant 1.03 million hectares in 2011. The 2011 wheat acreage in the state is 12% less than last growing season and 23% less than two years ago.

Parana is expected to produce 54% of the total Brazilian wheat crop in 2011 and 27% of the wheat consumed in Brazil. Approximately half of the wheat consumed in Brazil is imported and Argentina is the largest supplier of imported wheat for Brazil.

Brazilian farmers have always had a difficult time producing the high quality wheat needed by the milling industry. One commonly occurring problem in Brazilian wheat production is the possibility of heavy rainfall when the crop is being harvested in October and November. The heavy rains can result in a significant portion of the wheat being sold only as feed wheat instead of milling wheat.

According to researchers in Rio Grande do Sul, one of the reasons for the lower quality wheat in Brazil is because farmers do not apply enough nitrogen to the crop. Nitrogen not only increases the yield of the wheat plant, it also improves the quality of the seed produced. Their research has shown that a one-time larger application of nitrogen would improve the yields and the quality as well. An even better approach would be to split the nitrogen application into two or three applications which help the plant be more efficient in utilizing the nitrogen.

The wheat crop in southern Brazil is usually planted during the month of May and harvested during October and November. Virtually all the wheat produced in Brazil is followed by a crop of soybeans after the wheat is harvested.