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September 9, 2011

Corn Planting Starts in Parana

Farmers in Parana started to plant their 2011/12 corn crop earlier this week. Strong corn prices are encouraging farmers in the state to expand their full-season corn acreage at the expense of potential soybean acreage. Domestic corn prices in Parana are currently 40% higher than they were one year ago while soybean prices have increased only 15% compared to last year.

According to the Department of Rural Economics (Deral), the 2011/12 full-season corn acreage in Parana is expected to be 882,000 hectares or 15.3% more than in 2010/11. At the same time, the 2011/12 soybean acreage in the state is expected to be 4,430,000 hectares, or 1% less than last year. Even with this increase in corn acreage, farmers in the state are still projected to plant five times more acres of soybeans as compared to corn. The majority of the full season corn in the state will be planted over the next 45 days.

Farmers in the state are also expected to plant more safrinha corn acres as well. During the 2010/11 growing season, Parana farmers planted 1.7 million hectares of safrinha corn and that is expected to increase again in 2011/12. The total safrinha corn acreage will depend on the corn price early next year and if farmers in the state are able to plant their soybeans in a timely fashion. The earlier the soybeans are planted in the state, the more likely the safrinha corn acreage will increase. Farmers are not allowed to start planting their soybeans until September 16th.

The improved corn prices are offering producers in the state the opportunity to increase their corn/soybean rotations. Disease and insect pressures are reduced when soybeans are rotated to corn, but reduced corn acreage in recent years has reduced the potential for rotations.

There is limited opportunity for additional expansion of full-season corn and soybean acreage in the state because of the limited land availability. Additionally, sugarcane acreage has also been expanding in the state taking potential acreage away from soybeans and corn. Sugarcane has been expanding in the state at an annual rate of approximately 7% for the last decade. During the 2011/12 growing season, the sugarcane acreage in the state is estimated at 612,000 hectares.