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October 21, 2019

2019/20 Cotton Acreage in Mato Grosso Likely to be Unchanged

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

Cotton planting in central Brazil will not start until early December, but there is already speculation as to what Brazilian farmers will do with their 2019/20 cotton acreage. Mato Grosso is the largest cotton producing state in Brazil and the Cotton Producers Association of Mato Grosso (AMPA) is estimating that farmers in the state will leave their 2019/20 cotton acreage unchanged or maybe increase it 2%.

The start of soybean planting in the state was delayed by dry weather, which in turn would delay the start of cotton planting early next year. Therefore, the delayed start to cotton planting makes it unlikely that farmers in Mato Grosso will increase their 2019/20 cotton acreage.

A small percentage of the cotton in the state is planted as a full-season crop planted in December. The vast majority of the cotton in the state is planted as a second crop in January following the harvest of the first crop soybeans. Earlier attractive cotton prices have led farmers in the state to forward contract 50% of their anticipated 2019/20 cotton production.

A second crop of cotton, called the safrinha, competes directly with the second crop of corn for acreage in the state. In the main cotton producing regions of the state, cotton is preferred over corn due to higher potential revenue from cotton. Cotton is generally planted before corn and the ideal cotton planting window generally closes at the end of January. The ideal planting window for safrinha corn generally closes about the third week of February.

Currently, the entire state of Mato Grosso is in its annual cotton-free period. Cotton producers in Brazil must adhere to a cotton-free period just like soybean producers must adhere to a soybean-free period. In the case of cotton, a 60-day period has been put in place during which no live cotton plants are permitted. The goal of this program is to help minimize the spread of pests and diseases from one growing season to the next, especially the boll weevil.

Farmers will be allowed to start planting cotton in Region 1 of the state on December 1st when the cotton-free period ends. In Region 2 of the state, farmers will be allowed to start planting cotton on December 15th. Region 1 consists of cotton production in southern and southeastern areas of the state. Region 2 consists of cotton production in central and western areas of the state.

Cotton production in Brazil has continued to increase in recent years which has allowed Brazil to emerge as the second largest cotton exporting country in the world after the United States.