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March 9, 2017

Brazil Soy Harvest Approaches 50%, Safrinha Corn Planting 75%

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

The Brazilian soybean harvest started off quickly in early January, but the harvest pace slowed down from mid-January to mid-February due to wet weather. Since late February, the weather in much of Brazil has become dryer which has allowed for a more rapid harvest pace to resume.

According to AgRural, as of late last week, the 2016/17 Brazilian soybean harvest was 47% complete compared to 41% last year and 36% average. The state of Mato Grosso is the largest soybean producing state in Brazil and it leads the way in harvesting with 78% of the crop harvested. The neighboring state of Goias is also 78% harvested. The second largest producing state is Parana where the soybean crop is 46% harvested compared to 53% last year and 40% average. Parana is the only major producing state where the harvest is behind last year's pace.

AgRural is estimating the nationwide soybean yield at 53.0 sacks per hectare (46 bu/ac). The weather has been favorable for much of the growing season and the soybean yields in many states are expected to set new record highs. AgRural is forecasting the soybean yield in Mato Grosso at 54.1 sacks per hectare (47.0 bu/ac), Parana at 55.5 sacks per hectare (48.2 bu/ac), and Rio Grande do Sul 52.0 sacks per hectare (45.2 bu/ac). These are the three leading soybean producing states in Brazil.

They are now estimating the 2016/17 Brazilian soybean crop at a record 107 million tons, which is up from their estimate in early February of 105.4 million tons. Last year Brazil produced 95.5 million tons of soybeans.

As Brazilian farmers harvest their soybeans, many are actively planting their safrinha corn as quickly as possible. They estimate that 75% of the safrinha corn has been planted in central and southern Brazil. Mato Grosso is the largest safrinha corn producing state and the crop in the state is 90% planted. Parana is the second largest safrinha producing state and the planting in the state is 61%, slightly behind the 63% planted last year.

The safrinha corn planting in western Parana was concentrated into a shorter than normal timeframe, which means that a higher percentage of the crop will be pollinating and filling grain in a short timeframe in May and June making the crop more sensitive to dry weather or frost if they were to occur.

AgRural is estimating the Brazilian safrinha corn crop at 61.5 million tons, which is up from their estimate of 60.2 million tons in early February. The total Brazilian corn crop is estimated at 90.8 million tons. If these estimates verify, the safrinha corn crop would represent 67% of Brazil's total 2016/17 corn production.

Safrinha corn production is a risky crop due to the uncertainty of the weather in central Brazil during March-April-May. The safrinha corn in Mato Grosso will be pollinating generally during the month of April. In the state of Parana, the corn will pollinate generally from mid-April to mid-May. The summer rains in central Brazil generally end in late April or early May. If the rains would end earlier than normal, the corn could run out of moisture before the grain filling is completed, resulting in disappointing yields.