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May 26, 2017

Early Safrinha Corn Harvest starts slowly in Mato Grosso

The municipality of Sorriso, which is located in central Mato Grosso, is the largest corn producing municipality in Brazil and farmers in the area have started to harvest their 2016/17 safrinha corn. According to the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea) the safrinha corn harvest in Mato Grosso was 0.2% as of last Friday with 0.45% harvested in the Sorriso region.

The corn that is being harvested now was planted in early January after the first crop of soybeans were harvested. Wet weather last week slowed the initial harvest, but a return of dryer weather this week should facilitate the early harvest.

Farmers are reporting that some of the early harvested corn is poor quality citing moldy ears and moldy kernels. It appears that the earlier planted corn has been impacted the most because of the very heavy rains in February and early March as the grain filling process was underway. They are hoping that the later planted corn will be of better quality, but it is too early to say for sure.

The president of the local rural society indicated that some farmers are not selling their poor quality grain due to the lower overall prices being offered by the grain companies and the fact that the price of the poor quality grain would be docked even further. Instead, they are temporarily storing the poor quality corn and waiting to harvest good quality corn and then mixing the two together to avoid being docked for poor quality grain. Grain companies do the same thing when there is a quality issue.

Farmers in the state are also very concerned about the low prices being offered for their corn. Scot Consultoria reported that the average price of corn in Sorriso last week was R$ 14.00 per sack (approximately $2.05 per bushel), which is a decline of 61% compared to last year at this time. It is also below the minimum price guaranteed by the government which is R$ 16.50 per sack (approximately $2.40 per bushel). Prices could decline even more once the harvest moves into full swing.