Amazon rains are expected to spread across Brazil’s North, Northeast and even into the Central portion of the country over the coming days, spreading into regions where farmers have been bringing in wet beans and often opting out of second-crop corn planting as the planting window slams shut this week. By this writing, experts at the Mato Grosso Ag Economics Institute indicate that the optimum planting window closes this week, with producers planting between rains. With little time left to go, producers in Brazil’s top second-crop corn state had gotten 68% of the projected crop in the ground by last report. And based on the five-year average for this point in the year, Institute observers figure 74% of the state’s projected 11 million acres of second-crop corn will get planted just in time.
What’s left may go unplanted this year, or planted with as little investment as possible in inputs by those farmers who will plant second-crop corn no matter what, for agronomic reasons. After all, with a spot price of about $2.22 per bushel in Sapezal, Mato Grosso, there’s plenty of pressure to cut costs if there’s any chance yields may end up lower than maximum.
But no matter how much producers invest in the second crop, state experts are calling for an average Mato Grosso yield this season of 90.6 bushels per acre, down 11% from 2016-17.
Brazil’s number-two second-crop corn state is Parana, much farther to the south. Producers there are further behind still, mostly because the slightly cooler weather means they often can’t plant main-crop soybeans as early as some of the folks up in Mato Grosso. With just 10% of the state’s main-crop corn in the bin so far, with 42% of the projected 5.3 million acre second-crop corn area now planted. And it’s hard to tell what’s likely to happen in the coming days, with meteorologists indicating either clear Parana skies for the time being, or scattered rains. At least we can say this much: nobody is calling for heavy precipitation soon.
An agency of the state ag secretariat forecasts Parana statewide second crop corn yields at 91.4 bushels per acre for 2017-18, which is up 4% from last cycle.
As a result, FCStone, a consultancy, cut its forecast for Brazil’s 2017-18 second-crop corn production by 400,000 tonnes, to 62.8 million tonnes, not just due to difficulties in places like Mato Grosso and Parana states, but also among lesser-producing second-crop corn states like Mato Grosso do Sul and Goias.
The consultancy’s lowered estimates for both main-crop and second-crop corn production in Brazil this year would set total Brazilian 2017-18 corn output at 86.2 million tonnes.
The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.