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March 15, 2017

Brazilian Farmers have Planted 88% of the 2016/17 Safrinha Corn

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

Two-thirds of Brazil's 2016/17 corn production will come from the safrinha corn crop. According to AgRural, the safrinha corn crop in Brazil is 88% planted compared to 85% last year and 83% average. The safrinha corn in Mato Grosso is 98% planted compared to 95% last year. In Parana the safrinha corn is 80% planted which is equal to last year.

Mato Grosso is the largest safrinha corn producing state in Brazil, but estimates from the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea) and Conab concerning the state's potential corn crop differ significantly. Imea is estimating the safrinha corn acreage in the state at 4.57 million hectares, whereas Conab has the acreage at 4.12 million hectares. Imea is expecting a slightly higher yield and higher production as well. Imea is estimating the corn production in Mato Grosso at 26.5 million tons, whereas Conab has the estimate at 23.4 million tons.

The critical time for corn production is just prior to pollination, during pollination, and during grain filling. Pollination generally occurs about 60 days after emergence. The safrinha corn in Mato Grosso will pollinate probably sometime during April. In Parana, the pollination will be a little later probably occurring from mid-April to mid-May. Therefore, the Brazilian safrinha corn crop still has 2-3 months to go or more before we can be assured of the corn yields.

The problem is that the weather in Brazil is now becoming dryer, especially in the more eastern areas. In the city of Brasilia for example, they have instituted water rationing because they have received less than 30% their normal rainfall over the past 45 days.

It is unclear when the summer rains will end in central Brazil, but there are forecasts for dryer than normal and hotter than normal conditions during March, April, and May. If these forecasts verify, there could be problems ahead for the safrinha corn. There are improved chances of rainfall in the 6-10 day forecast, but the safrinha corn will need good rains through the end of May if the crop is to achieve record breaking yields, which some analysts are predicting.

We don't know when the summer rains will end, maybe they will continue through May, maybe not. What we do know is that the weather in central Brazil has already started to dry out and if this pattern persists, the safrinha corn crop could encounter significant moisture stress before it completes filling grain.