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June 5, 2012

Safrinha Corn Harvest Begins in Mato Grosso, New Records Set

The safrinha corn crop in Mato Grosso is setting new all-time records. It is estimated that 2.5 million hectares of safrinha corn were planted in the state, which is a record acreage. The crop continues to benefit from record setting late-season rainfall as the rainy season in Brazil has yet to end. Many farmers have reported that they have never seen this much rainfall so late in the month of May. And now, some of the corn has been harvested during the month of May, which is the first time that has occurred in the state. Granted only 0.2% of the crop has been harvested (approximately 5,000 hectares), but it's another indication of just how well this crop has performed.

The first safrinha corn to be harvested was in the western part of the state in the municipality of Sapezal, but many farmers in the rest of the state will start harvesting their corn crop during the second week of June when 10% of the corn will be mature. The safrinha corn harvest in the state will be approximately three weeks earlier than last year.

The Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea) estimates the statewide safrinha corn yield at 78 sacks per hectare (4,680 kg/ha or 72 bu/ac) for a total production of 11.7 million tons of corn. Last year the safrinha corn production in the state totaled 6.99 million tons.

The state will produce much more corn than what is consumed domestically with the excess being shipped to southern Brazil to supplement a very disappointing full-season corn crop in that region, or it will be moved into the export market. The number one foreign destination for Mato Grosso corn is Iran which imports 18% of the total, followed by Columbia at 17%, Algeria at 13%, Morocco at 9%, Saudi Arabia at 8%, and others at 35%.

Brazil is expected to export a record amount of corn in 2012. The last record was 10.8 million tons, but this year, exports are expected to top 11 million tons. Brazilian corn exports should start to accelerate during July and August as the safrinha corn crop is harvested. Brazilian soybean exports are expected to decline during this same period, which should free up space at the ports for increased corn exports. The vast majority of corn exports from Brazil will come from the safrinha corn production in Mato Grosso and Parana. Most of the corn in Mato Grosso will be harvested during June and July while in Parana it will be harvested between late-June and early August.

Domestic corn prices in Mato Grosso have been falling recently with the realization that a record corn crop on the way. Late last week, corn prices in the state ranged from R$ 13.50 to R$ 15.90 per sack of 60 kilograms, which was a decline of 27% to 37% compared to the end of April.