Brazil braces for big corn crop

Brazil braces for big corn crop

Unexpectedly good weather ups corn production in Brazil, pressures prices

While you were out spraying your corn these past few days—for those who could get into wet fields—the Brazilians were firing up the combines to start bringing in their second crop. And some analysts were busy taking a stab at 2014-15 production estimates.

Related: Brazil looks to ethanol use for second-crop corn

Unexpectedly good weather ups Brazilian corn production, pressures prices

FC Stone, for example, upped its estimate of total 2014-15 Brazilian corn production (over two crops) this week by 2.7%, to 80.1 million metric tons, according to a report. The bulk of that increase came from the bet that the season's second crop will set a record at 49.7 million of those tonnes due to good weather—even for those fields planted after the ideal planting window had shut.

The big two
Check out the numbers in the two states where it counts: Mato Grosso, up North, and Parana, down South, are Brazil's two top second-crop corn states. And the Mato Grosso Agricultural Economics Institute recently bragged the state's producers alone will come up with 20.3 million tonnes of that total—producing a crop nearly 15 percent larger than last year despite weather challenges that set planting beyond most producers' comfort zones. Looking to take advantage of the bean-corn rotation in a single season, Mato Grosso farmers planted 8.1 million acres of corn following their expanded 2014-15 soy crop despite appalling prices (at this writing, spot corn in Nova Mutum, Mato Grosso was selling for $2.05 per bushel.)

But the primary driver for big Mato Grosso second-crop corn production this time around isn't so much a big planted area—it's predicted good yields brought about by the fact that the rains have loitered longer than usual this year. That's why officials are predicting the average statewide second-crop corn yield this season will tip the scales at 98.6 bushels per acre—an increase of a bit more than 11 bushels per acre over last season.

Parana
Meanwhile, some 1,500 miles to the South, producers in Brazil's number-two state for second-crop corn were four percent done with harvest at last report. With an estimated 167,000 acres combined by now, good weather there has made for a 97% "good" rating in terms of crop conditions.

Related: U.S. farmer adapts to Brazil

Producers there have a better chance of marketing their crop (with the latest spot corn price in one Parana town at $2.53 per bushel) due to greater poultry and pork production nearby, as well as local ports and relatively good infrastructure.

And with 80.1 million tonnes of 2014-15 corn to move, Brazilian farmers will certainly face continued price pressure. It's no wonder they're looking at corn ethanol and DDGS.

The opinions of James Thompson are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or the Penton Farm Progress Group.

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