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November 12, 2014

Farmers in Sao Paulo State are not having a Good Year

Drought and irregular weather patterns have negatively impacted row crop, tree crop, and sugarcane production in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil. In their first estimate of the 2014/15 crops in the state of Sao Paulo, the Institute of Agricultural Economics (IEA) gave a general downbeat assessment of the crops.

The total summer row crop acreage in the state will total 1.38 million hectares, which is basically unchanged from the prior year. The principal row crop in the state are soybeans which will be planted on 53% of the crop acreage followed by corn at 34.6%, peanuts at 7%, dry beans at 3.3%, and rice at 1%. Planting of the summer crops remain behind the average pace due to a lack of early season rains. Farmers are hoping for a better year this year compared to last year when a severe drought and record high temperatures during December and January significantly impacted the crops.

Sugarcane has the biggest crop by acreage in the state and as the 2014/15 harvest approaches completion, it has not been a good year for sugarcane producers. The sugarcane acreage in 2014/15 remained stable, which is contrary to prior years when it continually expanded. Sugarcane production in 2014/15 is expected to be 402.6 million tons or 9.4% less than 2013/14. The problems for the sugarcane started with a drought in December and January and the crop never fully recovered for the rest of the growing season. Prices for ethanol and sugar have also been depressed adding to the troubles faced by the sugar sector in Brazil.

Coffee production is also expected to be disappointing due to the poor weather during the early part of 2013. The coffee fruit ended up being smaller than normal with a lot of deformities. The total coffee production in the state during the 2013/14 growing season which ended in June totaled 4.594 million sacks, which is much lower than earlier estimates which pegged the crop at over 5 million sacks.

The one bright spot in the state is orange production. The 2013/14 orange crop in the state is expected to be 293 million boxes (40.8 kilograms each) or 2.3% more than last year. The orange yields are expected to be 26,475 kg/ha of fruit or 5.2% more than last year.