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November 26, 2019

Delayed Soy Planting Could Reduce Brazil's Safrinha Corn Acreage

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

There is the possibility that some Brazilian farmers may not plant all the safrinha corn they had intended. This is the result of delayed soybean planting in such states as Mato Grosso do Sul, Parana, Sao Paulo, Goias, and Minas Gerais.

On one hand, the safrinha corn planting will be delayed in some states, but on the other hand, corn prices are very attractive in Brazil and they might even move higher due to a weaker Brazilian currency, strong exports, strong domestic demand, and anticipated very tight carryover. Therefore, potentially good corn prices might persuade some farmers to plant their corn past the ideal planting window.

The weather could also impact the potential safrinha corn acreage. If we get to late February or early March next year and the forecast is for good rains to continue into April and May, farmers may risk planting the corn later than desired. Conversely, if the summer rains are forecasted to end early, they may not want to risk planting their corn later than normal.

Planting safrinha corn later than desired does not necessarily mean that the yields of the safrinha corn will be negatively impacted, but it does mean that the risk of lower yields increases significantly. In central Brazil, the risk of late planting is the potential for an early end to the summer rainy season before the corn is mature. In the more southern areas, the risk of late planting is the potential for dry weather and frost before the corn reaches maturity.

Safrinha Corn in Mato Grosso - In Mato Grosso 90% of the safrinha corn should be planted by the end of February, so I don't think there will be much of a problem getting the safrinha corn planted on time in Mato Grosso unless February turns out to be very rainy. In the main safrinha corn planting areas of Mato Grosso, farmers were able to plant the majority of their corn in a timely manner. Irregular rains in parts of eastern Mato Grosso might convince some farmers to switch some of their safrinha corn to an alternative crop. Since Mato Grosso represents about 43% of the safrinha corn acreage in Brazil, a good corn crop in the state can go a long way to counterbalance potentially lower corn yields in other states due to delayed planting.

Safrinha Corn in Parana - Parana is the second largest safrinha corn producing state after Mato Grosso and most of the safrinha corn is planted in the western part of the state. AgRural estimates that only 53% of the safrinha corn will be planted by the end of February (see next article), so about half of the crop will be planted in March and runs the risk of lower yields.

Safrinha Corn in Mato Grosso do Sul - According to Aprosoja/MS, given the soybean varieties utilized and their planting date, it is estimated that 30% of the safrinha corn will be planted past the end of the window subjecting it to potential losses from frost, which are common during June and July especially in the southern part of the state. As of earlier last week, the soybean crop was approximately 73% planted compared to 100% planted last year at this time.

Safrinha Corn in Minas Gerais - According to the President of the Grain Commission of the Agriculture and Livestock Confederation of Minas Gerais (Faemg), farmers in the state may reduce their safrinha corn acreage up to 30% due to late planting. Instead of planting corn, they may switch to grain sorghum which is more tolerant to dry weather.

The potential late planting of the safrinha corn is due to the delayed soybean planting in the state. The soybeans in Minas Gerais were 60-70% planted last week compared to 95% a year earlier.