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November 17, 2016

86% of Mato Grosso Cotton will be Safrinha Production

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

The summer rains came early to central Brazil this year and as a result, many farmers in the center-west region of Brazil completed their 2016/17 soybean planting a month earlier than last year. Not only is this good news for the soybean crop, it is also very good news for the second crop of corn and cotton that will be planted when the soybeans are harvested.

As a result of the impending early harvest of the soybeans, it is anticipated that the safrinha cotton crop will be planted during the ideal planting window which is basically the month of January. Mato Grosso is the largest cotton producing state in Brazil and cotton in the state is planted in two phases. The full-season cotton is planted generally starting on December 1st depending on the location. The safrinha cotton, which has a shorter life cycle, is planted as soon as the soybeans are harvested and ideally all the cotton would be planted by the end of January.

The two main cotton producing regions of Mato Grosso are the western region and the southeastern region. The 2016/17 soybeans were planted at a record pace in both of these areas which will allow enough time to plant the safrinha cotton in a very timely manner.

In 2016/17, the farmers in Mato Grosso are expected to plant 600,000 hectares of cotton or 2% less than the 612,000 hectares planted in 2015/16. It is estimated that 14% of the cotton in the state will be full-season cotton (83,400 hectares) and 86% will be safrinha cotton (516,600 hectares). A decade ago, only a small percentage of the cotton was planted after soybeans, but the percentage of safrinha cotton continues to increase in the state.

Even though the cotton acreage is expected to decline 2% in 2016/17, the yield is expected to increase 13% compared to last year's crop which was significantly impacted by hot and dry weather. The total cotton production in the state is expected to increase 10% to 985,600 tons of fiber.

Cotton planting in Mato Grosso is permitted from December 1st to February 28th in the southern and eastern regions. In the northern and western regions, it is permitted from December 15th to February 28th. Currently Mato Grosso is in the midst of the annual cotton-free period which generally starts October 1st and ends November 30th.

During this 60 day period, landowners are required to eliminate any volunteer cotton plants that may have germinated along the edges of the fields or around storage and transportation facilities. Farmers who do not eliminate the plants can face hefty fines. The goal of the cotton-free period is to limit the survival of boll weevils and other pests from one growing season to the next.

Mato Grosso is expected to plant approximately 65% of Brazil's total cotton in 2016/17 followed by the state of Bahia with 22%