September 10, 2013
Parana Farmers to Increase Soy Acreage 4%, Reduce Corn 19%
Farmers in southern Brazil are looking at the price ratios between soybeans and corn and deciding to plant more soybeans and less corn. According to the State Secretary of Agriculture in the state of Parana (Deral), farmers in the state are expected to increase their soybean acreage by 4% to 4.85 million hectares. At the same time, they are expected to reduce their full-season corn acreage by 19% to 710,800 hectares. If these estimates turn out to be accurate, farmers in the state will plant nearly seven times more acres of soybeans in 2013/14 compared to full-season corn.
In southern Brazil full-season corn and soybeans compete for the same acreage during spring planting and with rising soybean prices and declining corn prices, the price ratio in the state is more than 3 to 1 in favor of soybeans. Additionally, soybeans are cheaper to plant and soybean yields in Parana are higher relatively speaking than corn yields making the decision to switch to more soybeans even easier. Farmers plant full-season corn mainly for rotational purposes, but with such a price differential favoring soybeans, there is less pressure to maintain their rotations.
The trend in recent years has been to plant less full-season corn in favor of planting more safrinha corn after the soybeans are harvested. In order to plant more corn, most of the soybeans being planted in northern and western Parana are early maturing soybeans that can be harvested starting in January, provided they are planted during the first half of October.
Farmers are giving up some of the potential soybean yield by planting the early maturing varieties, but that is more than made up for by harvesting a second crop of corn from the same field during the same growing season.
Deral is estimating that the state's soybean production will set a new record of 16.1 million tons during the 2013/14 growing season. Conab, which is the widely watched government reporting agency, will make their first official estimate of the 2013/14 Brazilian growing season in their October Crop Report.