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May 20, 2020

Brazil's Safrinha Corn receives some Much Needed Rainfall

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

Many of the safrinha corn areas received two episodes of rain over the past two weeks. Rainfall amounts were heavier in Mato Grosso do Sul and lighter in Parana. Rainfall amounts were even lighter in Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais, but there is more rain in the forecast.

The rains should help to stabilize the safrinha corn, but some yield losses were already locked in before the rain occurred. The next concern for the safrinha corn in the southern production areas is the possibility of frost/freeze before the crop is mature. A lot of the safrinha corn in the southern areas was planted later than normal so it will be vulnerable to frost/freezes throughout the Brazilian "winter season."

Mato Grosso - Parts of Mato Grosso have turned dryer than normal in recent weeks, but the dryer weather is coming late in the cycle as the corn approaches maturity. In some areas, the corn yields may be sown 5-10%, while in other areas, it may be up 5-10%. The safrinha corn harvest in Mato Grosso will start in early June.

Farmers in the state have taken advantage of very good corn prices and they have sold 81% of their anticipated 2019/20 corn production according to the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea). Farmers have also sold approximately 30% of their 2020/21 corn production, which should cover a significant portion of their cost of production.

Parana - After weeks of dry weather, the safrinha corn in the state of Parana has received some rainfall over the past ten days, but not enough to stop the overall deterioration of the crop.

In their latest assessment of the safrinha corn crop in the state of Parana, the Department of Rural Economics (Deral) is now rating the corn crop as 11% poor, 36% average, and 53% good. This represents a drop of 8% in the good category compared to the prior week. The corn is 19% in vegetative development, 40% pollinating, 36% filling grain, and 5% mature.

The safrinha corn crop represents 86% of the total corn production in the state, which is Brazil's second largest corn producing state after Mato Grosso. The full-season corn, which represents 14% of Parana's total corn production, is 99% harvested according to Deral.

In the municipality of Marital Candido Rondon, which is located in western Parana, the president of the Rural Syndicate expects corn yields to be down 40% because the losses were locked in before the recent rains.

Mato Grosso do Sul - After 30 days without rains, the municipality of Laguna Carapa, which is located in southern Mato Grosso do Sul, received upwards of 100 mm of rainfall last week (4 inches). For those farmers that received the rain, this should be enough to stabilize the corn crop and guarantee adequate soil moisture for about a month. Unfortunately, yield losses of about 20% were already locked in before the rain occurred.

The concern going forward is the possibility of frost/freeze before the corn is mature. They already had one episode of patchy frost, but it did not affect a wide area. The corn harvest in the municipality will not be completed until about the first week of September.

The Agriculture and Livestock Federation of Mato Grosso do Sul reported that the average price of corn thus far during the month of May has been R$ 39.31 per sack, which is 66% more than May of 2019 when it was R$ 23.69 per sack. They estimate that farmers in the state planted 1,977,000 hectares of safrinha corn, which is down 9% compared to a year earlier.

My current estimates for the 2019/20 Brazilian corn crop is as follows:

  • Full-season corn - 24.0 million tons or 24% of the total corn crop.
  • Safrinha corn 71.0 million tons or 74% of the total corn crop.
  • Third corn crop - 1.1 million tons or 1% of the total corn crop.