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November 7, 2017

Does Late Safrinha Corn Planting in Mato Grosso impact Yield?

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

As I mentioned earlier in this report, I think the delayed soybean planting could be of greater importance for the Brazilian corn crop than the soybean crop. The general assumption has always been that delaying the safrinha corn planting results in lower yields, but that may not always be true.

During the 2016/17 growing season, 8% of the safrinha corn was planted outside the ideal window and the statewide corn yield ended up at 107.1 sacks per hectare. During the 2014/15 growing season, 35% of the safrinha corn was planted outside the ideal window, but corn yields ended up at 108.5 sacks per hectare, which set a new record high for the state. Below is a summation of the last three safrinha corn crops in Mato Grosso:

  • 2014/15, 35% planted outside the window, yield of 108.5 sacks/ha (100.2 bu/ac)
  • 2015/16, 35% planted outside the window, yield of 74.2 sacks/ha (68.5 bu/ac)
  • 2016/17, 8% planted outside the window, yield of 107.1 sacks/ha (98.9 bu/ac)
  • 2017/18, 30% planted outside the window, yield ?

As you can see, planting the safrinha corn in Mato Grosso outside the ideal planting window does not necessarily mean lower yields. The eventual safrinha corn yields will depend on the length of the rainy season. If the rainy season is extended into late May or early June (approximately a month longer than normal), the yields of late planted safrinha corn could be very good. If the rainy season ends in early April (approximately a month earlier than normal), late planted safrinha corn could be in big trouble.

In four of the last five years, the rainy season has been extended in Mato Grosso resulting in generally good safrinha corn yields. The rainy season ended early in 2016 resulting in very poor safrinha corn yields. At this point, there has not been any forecasts as to when the rainy season may end in central Brazil. The eventual safrinha corn yield in central Brazil will depend on the rainfall during March-April-May.