Jun 15, 2020

Cotton Harvest Starting in Brazil, Farmers will Plant Less in 2020/21

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

Brazilian farmers will start to harvest their 2019/20 cotton crop in June, but the slumping cotton prices will probably result in less cotton being planted in Brazil in 2020/21. The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in lower demand for Brazilian cotton both internationally and domestically. In response, it is estimated that Brazilian farmers will reduce their 2020/21 cotton acreage by 10% to 20%. In 2019/20, Brazilian farmers planted approximately 1,671,000 hectares of cotton, which was an increase of 3.3% compared to 2018/19.

Farmers in Mato Grosso will start to harvest their 2019/20 cotton crop during the second half of June. Farmers took advantage of higher cotton prices earlier in the year to forward contract 78% of their anticipated production. Forward sales have slowed in recent weeks due to the pandemic and strengthening of the Brazilian currency in relation to the U.S. dollar.

Mato Grosso farmers planted 1,169,000 hectares of cotton in 2019/20, which represented an increase of 5.8% compared to the previous year. The state of Mato Grosso is the largest cotton producing state in Brazil responsible for approximately 70% of Brazil total cotton acreage. More than 90% of the cotton in Mato Grosso is planted as a second crop after soybeans.

The second largest cotton producing state in Brazil is Bahia with an estimated 315,100 hectares of cotton, which was down 5% compared to 2018/19. Farmers in Bahia planted their cotton last December and they will start harvesting during June. The President of the Cotton Producers Association of Bahia (Abapa) thinks farmers in the state will reduce their cotton acreage in 2020/21 by 10% to 20% due to slumping prices. Bahia plants approximately 20% of Brazil's cotton.

The state of Mato Grosso do Sul planted approximately 32,000 hectares of cotton in 2019/20 (2.2% of Brazil cotton acreage), which was down 13% from the previous year. They will start harvesting cotton in June and finish in late August or early September. The cotton-free period in Mato Grosso do Sul starts on September 15th and it will run through early December.

The other two Brazilian states with significant cotton production are Goias with 38,500 hectares (2.3% of Brazil's total) and Minas Gerais with 37,800 hectares (2.2% of Brazil's total). Farmers in both of these states reduced their cotton acreage approximately 9% in 2019/20.