September 19, 2013

Mato Grosso Farmers to Increase Cotton Acreage Nearly 30%

Farmers in Mato Grosso, which is the largest cotton producing state in Brazil, are expected to increase their 2013/14 cotton acreage by nearly 30% to 580,000 hectares. During the 2012/13 growing season, 452,000 hectares of cotton were planted in the state. The Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea) estimates that the cotton production in the state will total 835,000 tons compared to the 687,000 tons produced in 2012/13.

The increased acreage is the result of higher cotton prices which have increased 27% over the past twelve months. Cotton production declined in 2012/13 due to low cotton price and as a result, domestic cotton supplies in Brazil are very tight and the carryover in Brazil is the lowest since the 2009/10 growing season.

Cotton farmers in the state are allowed to start planting their 2013/14 cotton crop on December 1st, which is the end of the cotton-free period in the state. The cotton-free period was instituted as a way to help control the movement of pests such as the cotton boll worm and the boll weevil from one growing season to the next. Since Mato Grosso has a tropical climate, there are no freezing temperatures between growing seasons that could help control the insect numbers, but the elimination of host plants such as volunteer cotton, helps to hold down the insect populations.

There are two types of cotton crops planted in Mato Grosso. The full-season cotton is longer maturity cotton (approximately 210 day maturity) and is generally planted during the month of December. The safrinha cotton is shorter maturity (approximately 170 day maturity) and it is planted during the month of January after the first crop of soybeans is harvested. The safrinha cotton must be planted by the end of January in order to allow enough time for the crop to mature before the onset of the next rainy season.

The cost of producing the 2013/14 cotton crop is expected to increase approximately 15% in 2013/14 due mainly higher chemical costs. Imea estimates that the cost of producing a hectare of cotton in the state will be approximately R$ 5,899 or approximately UD$ 1,038 per acre.