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November 26, 2018

Farmers in Mato Grosso to increase Cotton Acreage by 18%

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

In response to strong cotton prices, farmers in Mato Grosso are planning to increase their 2018/19 cotton acreage by 18.1% according to the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea). Farmers are expected to plant 28,800 hectares of full-season cotton and 908,900 hectares of safrinha cotton. Mato Grosso is Brazil's largest cotton producing state followed by the state of Bahia.

Therefore, 97% of the cotton in Mato Grosso will be safrinha cotton planted after the soybeans are harvested. This represents a continuation of the trend to increase the percentage of cotton planted as a safrinha crop following soybeans. The full-season cotton is usually planted in December and the safrinha cotton is usually planted in January.

The soybeans in Mato Grosso were planted at a record fast pace, which should allow ample time to plant the safrinha cotton within the ideal planting window which closes about the end of January. Imea estimates that if everything goes as planned, the state could produce 1.6 million tons of fiber, which would be an increase of 17% compared to 2017/18.

The question often arises that if farmers in the state plant more safrinha cotton, will that in turn limit the potential acreage of safrinha corn? The answer is - not really. As the soybean acreage increases in Mato Grosso, so too does the possibility of increased acreage of safrinha corn and safrinha cotton.

Imea estimates that the 2018/19 safrinha corn acreage in the state will be 4,660,000 million hectares and the safrinha cotton acreage will be 908,900 hectares. In other words, the safrinha corn acreage will be approximately 5 times larger than the safrinha cotton acreage. Therefore, an increase in safrinha cotton acreage might limit somewhat the expansion of safrinha corn acreage, but it would not result in a decrease in safrinha corn acreage.

Collectively, approximately 57% of the soybeans planted in the state will be followed by a second crop of either corn or cotton. In other words, there is ample room in the state for increases in both safrinha corn and cotton. Therefore, as the soybean acreage increases, so too does the possibility of increasing both corn and cotton acreages as well.