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May 3, 2012

Late April Rains Help Safrinha Corn and Cotton in Mato Grosso

The rains that fell during the last week of April were very beneficial for the safrinha corn and cotton crops in Mato Grosso. The Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea) estimates that the statewide safrinha corn crop will yield 78 sacks per hectare (4,680 kg/ha or 72 bu/ac), which is the highest in three years and above their initial estimate of 74 sacks per hectare (68 bu/ac). Some of the earliest planted safrinha corn in the state could yield as high as 110 sacks per hectare (6,600 kg/ha or 102 bu/ac). The safrinha corn harvest is expected to start in late June or early July.

Farmers in the state planted a record 2.5 million hectares of safrinha corn (a 43% increase over 2010/11) and the total corn production in the state is estimated at 11.7 million tons, which is 68% more than in 2010/11. Only about 3 million tons are consumed locally and the remainder is either shipped to the livestock industry in southern Brazil or exported. The prospect of a record large corn crop has resulted in falling prices in state with some areas falling as much as 20% over the past month.

Corn farmers in the state are concerned about the falling corn prices and they would like the government to do something to support the corn prices. Mato Grosso is a corn surplus state and the government has traditionally either purchased corn at a guaranteed minimum price, which some years is above the market price, or they have subsidized the shipment of corn to livestock producers in southern Brazil or to exporters.

For the cotton crop, Imea is estimating that the statewide yield will be 3,563 kg/ha, which would be the highest yield in three years. Farmers in the state planted 716,200 hectares of cotton in 2011/12, which was 1.2% less than in 2010/11. With the rains of the past week, most producers would now like to see dry weather for the remainder of the growing season as the cotton crop matures. There is adequate soil moisture to finish the crop and additional rainfall going forward would be a detriment. Harvesting of the cotton crop is expected to start in June.