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September 3, 2015

Mato Grosso Farmers Produce Record High Safrinha Corn Yields

Farmers in Mato Grosso have wrapped up the harvest of a record large safrinha corn crop. What started off as a problematic crop with delayed planting and low prices ended up with record yields and higher prices. The Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea) is now estimating the safrinha corn crop in the state at 21 million tons. They have increased the crop size for five successive reports since the start of the growing season due mainly to increasing productivity.

Imea started off the season estimating the crop at 15 million tons, but the yields just kept getting bigger and bigger. The statewide corn yield is now estimated at 105.6 sacks per hectare (6,336 kg/ha or 97.5 bu/ac). This is 15% more than the 91.6 sacks per hectare recorded in 2014 (5,496 kg/ha or 84.6 bu/ac). The safrinha corn acreage in Mato Grosso in 2015 ended up at 3.31 million hectares (8.1 million acres), which is 2.6% more than in 2014.

In December of 2014, Imea's initial estimate of the 2014/15 safrinha corn yield in the state was 86.0 sacks per hectare (5,160 kg/ha or 79.4 bu/ac), which at the time was 6% below the yield of 2013/14 (91.6 sacks per hectare). So, they started the season with a statewide yield of 79.4 bu/ac and ended the season at 97.5 bu/ac.

The farmers can attribute their good fortune to Mother Nature. Much of the corn was planted after the ideal planting window had closed in the third week of February and there was a concern that the crop would run out of moisture before it could mature, but that was not to be the case. Normally, the summer rains in Mato Grosso start to taper off in April and end by late April or early May, but this year, the rains continued until the end of May and record yields were the result.

Domestic prices for corn have also improved significantly compared to last growing season thanks to the 30% devaluation of the Brazilian currency since the first of the year compared to the dollar. The domestic price of corn in Mato Grosso averaged R$ 15.25 per sack during July of this year which was 36% more than during July of 2014.