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March 9, 2016

Farmers in Parana ask for an Extension to Plant their Safrinha Corn

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

High corn prices in Brazil has given farmers a financial incentive to plant as much safrinha corn as possible. In the state of Parana, which is the second leading safrinha corn producing state in Brazil, farmers are expected to increase their safrinha corn acreage by 7% from 1.93 million hectares last growing season to 2.06 million hectares this growing season.

Unfortunately, recent wet weather has slowed the soybean harvest and thus subsequently slowed the safrinha corn planting as well. Farmers in the state still have approximately 30% of their intended safrinha corn acreage left to plant. The slowest planting has been in the northern and northwester part of the state where it has been the wettest.

The official planting window for safrinha corn in the western part of the state closed on February 28th and for the remainder of the state, it will close on March 20th, but farmers are concerned that they may not be able to plant all their corn by that date.

As a result, the Cooperative Organization of Parana (Ocepar) has petitioned the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture for an extension of the official planting window so that farmers can still qualify for crop insurance and other government programs even though the corn may be planted outside the official planting window. They have asked for a ten-day extension for the entire state.

The Minister of Agriculture has indicated that an extension is not possible for areas where the window has already closed, but they would consider extending it for areas where the window has not yet closed. The technical director for Ocepar indicated that farmers who have already purchased their corn seed and inputs will go ahead and plant their safrinha corn past the deadline even though there is an increased risk of adverse weather before the crop matures.

The biggest risk for late planted corn in Parana is the possibility of cold weather before the crop matures. Frosts and even killing freezes are possible in the state generally starting during the second half of May.