July 10, 2015

Safrinha Corn Harvest in Brazil Slowed by Wet Weather

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

Farmers in southern Brazil were actively harvesting what is expected to be a record breaking safrinha corn crop until wet weather moved into the area. In some areas of western Parana, farmers have not been able to harvest corn for about two and a half weeks and they are starting to get concerned about the potential for lower grain quality. Farmers are also worried about spending more money to dry the corn when margins are already tight. Nationwide, approximately one-third of the safrinha corn crop has been harvested.

It has also been raining out of season in Mato Grosso as well, but the corn harvest has only been delayed for a few days and there are no quality concerns as of yet for the corn in the field. The corn harvest in Mato Grosso should be completed in about 30 days. Grain elevator operators are a bit more concerned because they have corn piled outside and any additional moisture would be a concern.

According to the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea), by the start of this week, farmers in Mato Grosso had harvested 21% of the 3.2 million hectares of safrinha corn in the state. At the end of June, the average safrinha corn yield in the state was 6,800 kg/ha (104.7 bu/ac), which was approximately 1,000 kg/ha (15.4 bu/ac) better than last year's yield.

In the state of Parana, the State Secretary of Agriculture reported that when 20% of the crop had been harvested, the yields were averaging 6,500 kg/ha (100.1 bu/ac), which is significantly higher than the 5,400 kg/ha (83 bu/ac) registered at the same point in the 2013/14 harvest.

The first corn harvested in Parana is expected to be the highest yielding because it had the highest technology package. Officials in Parana feel the average yield will now start to decline and could end up averaging slightly more than 6,000 kg/ha (92.4 bu/ac). Total safrinha corn production in the state is expected to be approximately 11 million tons.

Estimates for the safrinha corn production have been increasing in recent weeks as farmers report very good yields. In their July Report, Conab increased their estimate of the safrinha corn crop to 51.5 million tons and the safrinha corn crop now represents 63% of Brazil's total corn production.

The safrinha corn crop, which is double cropped after soybeans, is now the predominant corn crop in Brazil and Brazilian farmers have been very pleased with their safrinha corn production for the last four years due to extended rainy seasons. Generally, the summer rains end by late April or early May, but for the last four years, the rains have extended until late May or early June, resulting in very good corn yields.