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September 8, 2021

Early Corn Planting in Brazil, Corn Leafhoppers Worry

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

Brazilian farmers have planted 10% of their full-season corn as of late last week compared to 14% last year according to AgRural. This represents an advance of 5% for the week. In Rio Grande do Sul the rainfall has been good enough for a lot of farmers to start planting their full-season corn. The rainfall has not been as good in Santa Catarina and Parana and the Department of Rural Economics (Deral) indicated that 3% of the corn in Parana had been planted as of late last week, which is slightly ahead of the planting pace in recent years.

Across Brazil there is increasing concern about the potential damage from corn leafhoppers (Dalbulus maidis) which can be vectors of three stunting pathogens resulting in stunting and premature wilting. The pest is more common in sub-tropical and tropical areas of the world, but it is a relatively new pest in cornfields of southern Brazil and the infestation is growing. Many farmers had problems controlling the pest last growing season and it caused significant damage especially in southern Brazil.

The Secretary of Agriculture for the state of Rio Grande do Sul collected 180 samples from 151 municipalities across the state last April and May and they found the stunting pathogens in 44% of the samples. They are recommending that farmers plant corn hybrids that are more tolerant to the pest, adopt cultural practices that can help to contain the pest, and get technical assistance on how to effectively control the pest.