Apr 25, 2016

Brazil's Safrinha Corn Continues to Suffers from Hot, Dry Weather

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

Last week was another bad week for the safrinha corn crop in Brazil. The central part of Brazil remained very hot and dry with temperatures in the mid-90's°F. There were a few light showers in the region late last week and the forecast is calling for a few more showers this week, but they are expected to be light and scattered and they will only provide a brief temporary reprieve in the on-going dry pattern. On the positive side, the temperatures are expected to decline to more normal levels for this time of the year.

In order of potential risk to the safrinha corn crop, I would rank the states as Goias, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso do Sul, Sao Paulo, Parana, and eastern Mato Grosso. In some of the hardest hit areas of western Minas Gerais, they have now been 50 days without a rain. Previously, I estimated that approximately 40% of Brazil's safrinha corn was in some level of moisture distress and I am now increasing that to 50% or more. The reason for the increase is in part due to the dry weather in northern Parana.

The state of Parana is the second leading safrinha corn producing state in Brazil and is responsible for approximately 23% of the total production. Mato Grosso is the leading safrinha corn producing state in Brazil and responsible for 37% of the safrinha corn production according to the latest estimate from Conab.

Up until about three weeks ago, the safrinha corn crop in Parana had been rated in good condition especially the earlier planted corn in the western part of the state, but that has now started to change. Northern Parana has entered into a definite dryer cycle with many areas having been three weeks without rain and very high temperatures. This is especially troubling for the later planted corn that may be in the midst of pollination. There were some showers in the region late last week and the forecast is calling for improved chances of rain this week, but even then, the rains are not expected to be more than one inch, which is not enough to reverse the current situation. The temperatures are expected to cool down, which will help.

The safrinha corn planting in Parana only ended about two weeks ago and according to the Department of Rural Economics (Deral), the safrinha corn in Parana is 31% in vegetative development, 36% pollinating, and 32% in grain filling. The Soybean and Corn Producers Association of Parana (Aprosoja/PR) estimates that the safrinha corn yields in the state will be down at least 15% from earlier estimates. The earliest planted safrinha corn will do fine, it's the later planted corn that is at serious risk.

In a worst case scenario, the safrinha corn in Brazil could be hurt by the following percentages: Mato Grosso -5%, Parana -15%, Mato Grosso do Sul -15%, Goias -30%, Minas Gerais -30%, Northeastern Brazil -20%, and Sao Paulo -20%. If the worst case scenario were to happen, the total loss for the safrinha crop could approach 10 million tons from initial estimates.