Brazilian Safrinha Corn Gets Needed Moisture

Brazilian Safrinha Corn Gets Needed Moisture

As soybean harvest winds down, farmers focus on second-crop corn

2013-14 soybeans? That's so yesterday for most Mato Grosso farmers right now. Most are eyeing their Safrinha (second-crop corn) this week, and just praying the rains continue long enough to make that crop a go.

Even in southern Brazil, producers like Rodolpho Botelho, who haven't quite finished up those last beans that may have been planted into wheat stubble, have got one eye on the cost of inputs and the other on the sky, hoping for rains that will at least last until the second-crop corn is safely pollinated.

Mato Grosso farmer Ademir Rostirolla says his second-crop corn is looking good, so far. He took this photo this week.

Botelho and others say they'll start looking at fertilizer, seed and other costs coming up soon, but the real action won't start until June, when Brazilian producers typically start their initial cropping plans by way of advanced inputs purchases.

That measure of intentions, of course, works best when farmers are relatively liquid, as they are now, with prices remaining solid and the exchange rate shining favorably upon them.

And "shining" is the key: southern producers who had a historically hot and dry December, appear to be seeing some better-than-expected bean yields, though those yields are shooting up and down, field to field, like a childhood haircut.

Botelho, for example, isn't quite done with his harvest, but has said bean yields in his state of Paraná have ranged from 46 to 64 bushels per acre. Up in Mato Grosso, those yields have looked even better.

But the problems have come when producers have arrived at the elevator. Wet weather at harvest in the more northerly climes has meant big discounts for moisture, and increased rust.

But that's all yesterday. Right now, the corn is up in places like Goias, Brazil, and producers are on to the next crop.

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

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