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May 5, 2020

2019/20 Safrinha Corn in Southern Brazil Waiting for Rain

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

The weather in Brazil during April was generally wet in central Brazil and dry in southern Brazil. As a result, the northern half of the safrinha corn should do fine while the southern half of the safrinha corn will probably face lower yields.

There is rain in the forecast this week for the southern safrinha corn areas, but it is uncertain if the rains will be widespread enough and heavy enough to reverse the current dry conditions in Parana, Mato Grosso do Sul, Sao Paulo, and Minas Gerais.

Mato Grosso - The rainfall in the northern production areas such as Mato Grosso is also starting to decline with the onset of the annual dry season. It is estimated that 90% of the safrinha corn in Mato Grosso was planted within the ideal planting window, so much of the crop is approaching the point where it will need only one or two more rains to insure the yield potential (see pictures below from the municipality of Campo Verde, which is located in southeastern Mato Grosso.

Parana - Parana is the second largest safrinha corn producing state in Brazil and it is the "wild card" this year in Brazil. The Department of Rural Economics rated the safrinha corn earlier last week as 6% poor, 30% average, and 64% good. The percentage of the corn rated good is down 13% from the previous week and it will probably decline again in their next report. The safrinha corn in Parana was 48% in vegetative development, 35% pollinating, 15% filling grain, and 2% mature as of earlier last week.

There is rain in the forecast this week for southern Brazil, but it remains to be seen if it will be heavy enough and widespread enough to recharge the dry soils. The rainfall is especially needed in western and northern Parana.

Mato Grosso do Sul - The safrinha corn crop in Mato Grosso do Sul continues to be negatively impacted by prolonged dry weather. As a result, the hoped for big harvest may not materialize. The last significant rainfall in the state was April 13th and it has been dry since. While the rainfall on April 13th was beneficial, it was also accompanied by widespread hail which severely impacted the developing corn. There is some rain in the forecast for this week, but the amount and the coverage is uncertain.

Farmers in Mato Grosso do Sul reduced their safrinha corn acreage 9% this year to 1.97 million hectares. The acreage was reduced because the delayed soybean harvest pushed the corn planting outside of the recommended planting window. In addition to dry weather, the safrinha corn in Parana and Mato Grosso do Sul can also be impacted by frost before the crop is mature in June and July. In the municipality of Rio Brilhante, which is located in southern Mato Grosso do Sul, farmers are already concerned that their corn yields might be down 20% due to the dry weather.

Goias - In the municipality of Jatai, which is located in southwestern Goias, it has been dry for 15 days and farmers are anxiously awaiting the rain forecasted for this week. If the rains end up disappointing, the corn yields will end up below the expected 120 sacks per hectare (110.8 bu/ac).

Conab currently estimating the 2019/20 safrinha corn production at 75.4 million tons.

My current estimates for the 2019/20 Brazilian corn crop is as follows:

  • Full-season corn - 24.0 million tons or 24% of the total corn crop.
  • Safrinha corn 72.0 million tons or 74% of the total corn crop.
  • Third corn crop - 1.1 million tons or 1% of the total corn crop.