Jul 09, 2021

Safrinha Corn in Mato Grosso do Sul Impacted by Drought and Frost

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

The coldest temperatures in 20 years last week impacted the safrinha corn across south-central Brazil. Three consecutive nights of frost were recorded in southern Mato Grosso do Sul with frost in the central part of the state, which is a rare occurrence. The last time it was this cold in Brazil, there was not much safrinha corn production.

The Federation of Agriculture and Livestock of Mato Grosso do Sul (Famasul) is now rating the safrinha corn in the state at 61% poor, 38% regular, and 1% good. Before the frosts, the corn was rated 39%, 55%, and 6% respectively. Prior to the cold temperatures, the safrinha corn in the state had already been negatively impacted by late planting and prolonged periods of dry weather.

At the start of the growing season, Famasul estimated the statewide safrinha corn yield at 75 sacks per hectare (71.5 bu/ac) with a total production of 9.0 million tons. After the frosts, Famasul is now estimating the statewide corn yield at 52.3 sacks per hectare (49.8 bu/ac) with a total production of 6.2 million tons, or a loss of 2.8 million tons.

The news of frost sent corn prices in the state up by 16% for the week. The average price in the state last week was R$ 84.38 per sack (approximately $7.65 per bushel) or 119% higher than last year's price of R$ 38.48 per sack (approximately $3.50 per bushel).

In some of the hardest hit areas such as the municipality of Laguna Carapa in southern Mato Grosso do Sul, the three nights of consecutive frosts took a heavy toll on the safrinha corn.

Even before the frost occurred, the corn yields in the region were expected to decline from the normal of about 100 sacks per hectare (95.4 bu/ac) to approximately 70 sacks per hectare (66.7 bu/ac) due to a prolonged drought during most of the crop's development. After the frosts, it is estimated the corn yields could decline to as low as 30 sacks per hectare (28.6 bu/ac).

The total extent of the damage from the drought and frosts probably will not be known until the harvest is complete, but losses could be as high as 70% to 80% in the hardest hit areas. Harvesting is expected to start about July 15th for the earliest planted corn.

Some farmers are worried that their yields will be so low that they will not be able to meet their contracts to deliver corn in August. The average price for forward contracted corn in the state is in the range of R$ 75.00 to R$ 80.00 per sack (approximately $6.65 to $7.15 per bushel).