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June 6, 2018

Safrinha Corn Harvest starting in Mato Grosso

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

The combines are starting to enter the corn fields of Mato Grosso as Brazilian farmers ramp up for the harvest of their 2017/18 safrinha corn crop. The initial start to the harvest was delayed somewhat by the recent truck driver strike in Brazil that delayed fuel deliveries across Brazil. The Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea) estimates that 1% of the safrinha corn in the state has been harvested. Last year at this time, approximately 3% of the corn had been harvested.

The president of the Syndicate of Rural Producers in Sorriso, Mato Grosso, which is the largest corn producing municipality in Brazil, indicated that many farmers in the municipality have started their harvest.

Farmers in the region are expecting their corn to yield in the range of 110 sacks per hectare (approximately 101.6 bu/ac). The corn yields during the first 1-2 weeks of the harvest are expected to the best yields of the entire season. This is the corn that was planted the earliest and got ahead of the dryness that moved into the state in late April and early May. Corn yields are expected to decline as the harvest moves into the later planted corn.

The safrinha corn yields are expected to be the highest in central Mato Grosso and western Mato Grosso where the weather was more beneficial. The yields are expected to be lowest in eastern and southeastern Mato Grosso where there was an early onset of the dry season.

The recent temperatures have been hot and the relative humidity has been low, so farmers are being warned to take precautions against potential combine fires.

Local corn prices are in the range of R$ 20.00 per sack (approximately $2.50 per bushel), which will allow most farmers to turn a profit on their corn production. In 2017, farmers who did not forward contract their corn production and did not have adequate storage space, either sold their corn for a loss or sold it to the government for R$ 16.50 per sack (approximately $2.15 per bushel), which was the minimum price guaranteed by the government.

The Department of Rural Economics for the State of Parana (Deral) recently estimated that the safrinha corn harvest in the state is also approximately 1% complete. The corn harvest in Parana intensifies in July and goes until August. The corn harvest is expected to last somewhat longer than normal this year due to the late planting of the crop.

In their May assessment of the crop, Deral lowered their estimate of the crop to below 10 million tons and they indicated that the estimate may move lower in future reports, which are usually issued at the end of each month. The 2016/17 safrinha corn crop in Parana produced more than 13 million tons.