March 13, 2014

Safrinha Corn and Cotton Planting Wrapping up in Mato Grosso

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

Farmers in Mato Grosso took advantage of the dryer weather last week to accelerate the soybean harvest and the planting of the safrinha corn crop. The soybean crop in the state is now approaching three quarters harvested and the safrinha corn planting has surpassed 90%. Weather permitting; the safrinha corn planting in Mato Grosso should wrap up this week.

According to the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea), an estimated 800,000 hectares of safrinha corn in the state was planted after the ideal planting window closed on February 25th. The rainy season in the state usually winds down by the end of April making late planted corn more susceptible to moisture deficits during the grain filling period. Farmers have also reduced the level of investment in this year's corn crop also making it more susceptible to lower yields.

In 2013, the statewide safrinha corn yield in Mato Grosso averaged 101 sacks per hectare (6,060 kg/ha or 93 bu/ac). Imea is estimating that the average safrinha corn yield in 2014 will be 87.6 sacks per hectare (5,256 kg/ha or 81 bu/ac). In 2013, the state produced 22 million tons of corn, but a reduction in acreage and lower yields are expected to reduce the production in 2014 to 17 million tons.

Farmers have been very slow sellers of their new corn production with only 5% of the anticipated crop sold (912,000 tons). Last year at this time, farmers in the state had already sold 3.5 million tons of corn. Domestic corn prices in Mato Grosso in 2013 started out the year strong, but eased as it became apparent that the state would produce a record large corn crop. This year, domestic corn prices started out weak and farmers are hoping that they will strengthen as a smaller crop becomes apparent.

In addition to delayed corn planting, the wet weather in the state has also delayed the end of the cotton planting as well. Imea estimates that 593,000 hectares of cotton were planted in the state and some of it was planted later than normal. Late planted cotton also runs the risk of moisture deficits before the crop can complete its life cycle. Cotton producers and cotton buyers in the state are relatively fall apart on prices and as a result, very little of the impending production has been sold.