May 05, 2021

2020/21 Brazilian Safrinha Corn - Another Dry Week

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

There is a definite downward risk for the safrinha corn crop in Brazil. In the dryer areas of south-central Brazil, the dryness started at the end of March and it continued through April. Each recent rain event turned out to be disappointing and as we get deeper into May, the chances of significant rains continue to decline.

The 2020/21 Brazil safrinha corn crop is now estimated at 74.0 million tons with the full-season corn estimated at 24.5 million and the third crop estimated at 1.8 million. It is very difficult to say where the bottom might be for the Brazilian corn estimate, but I left the minimum estimate at 90.0 million tons this week. If it remains dry in south-central Brazil, the estimates will probably move lower.

It was another generally dry week last week for most of the safrinha corn in south-central Brazil. It is estimated that 50-60% of the safrinha corn is in various stages of dryness. The driest areas are the states of Parana, Mato Grosso do Sul, Sao Paulo, and Minas Gerais. The safrinha corn is in better condition in northern and western Mato Grosso.

The forecast is calling for very little relief this week. The current dry areas are forecasted to remain dry this week with maybe some improved chances of rain next week. Temperatures are expected to be seasonal this week, but some meteorologists continue to forecast the possibility of earlier than normal frost potential for southern Brazil.

Mato Grosso Safrinha Corn - The state of Mato Grosso has had the best weather thus far for safrinha corn especially northern and western Mato Grosso, but even in Mato Grosso, the weather has been variable. Take for example the municipality of Sorriso, which is the largest safrinha corn producing municipality in Brazil. The corn in Sorriso was planted 20-30 days later than normal with 40% planted after the ideal window had closed.

The rainfall distribution has been very irregular with one part of the municipality receiving over an inch of rainfall with other areas staying dry. Up until last weekend, many areas had gone 20-30 days without rain. Farmers had expected yields in the range of 100 sacks per hectare (95.4 bu/ac), but many farmers are now expecting something lower. In some areas of the state, it has been more than 35 days since the last rain with corn losses in the range of 20% or more.

The weather in western Mato Grosso has generally been favorable for the safrinha corn. In the municipality of Diamantino, which is located in western Mato Grosso, 40% of the corn was planted after the ideal planting window had closed, but recent rains have "saved" approximately 60% of the crop. Another good rain this week or next week could increase the "saved" percentage to as high as 90%.

Parana Safrinha Corn - The Department of Rural Economics (Deral) rated the safrinha corn in Parana earlier last week at 18% poor, 42% average, and 40% good. The percentage of the crop rated good has been declining on a weekly basis due to a lack of rainfall. As of earlier last week, the corn in Parana was 1% germinating/emerging, 65% in vegetative development, 23% pollinating, 10% filling grain, and 2% mature.

Deral trimmed their estimate of the safrinha corn production in Parana another 1.1 million tons to 12.2 million, which is already down 2 million tons from initial estimates and they indicated that the estimate may decline further.

Minas Gerais Safrinha Corn - The analysts for the Agriculture and Livestock Federation of Minas Gerais (Faemg) indicated the rainfall thus far for the safrinha corn has only been 15% of normal, but it is still possible the state's safrinha production could still surpass last year's production due to a 35% increase in acreage to 606,800 hectares. If there is no additional rainfall during the month of May, the 2020/21 safrinha production could fall below that of last year.

Mato Grosso do Sul Safrinha Corn - Approximately 44% of the safrinha corn was planted after the ideal planting window had closed and now dry weather is negatively impacting the corn. Aprosoja-MS is currently estimating the statewide safrinha corn yield at 75 sacks per hectare (71.5 bu/ac), which is down significantly from the record corn yield of 95 sacks per hectare (90.6 bu/ac) set in 2018/19. They stated that the yield estimate could move lower due to continued dryness and pest pressures.

Various analysis in Brazil are lowering their estimates for Brazil's 2020/21 corn production. Last week, Safras & Mercado trimmed their corn estimate by 8.5 million tons to 104 million. StoneX is now estimating the Brazilian corn crop at approximately 100 million tons.

The table below is Conab's April estimate for Brazil's 2020/21 safrinha corn production.

2020/21 Brazilian Safrinha Corn Production

StateAcreageEstimated Production% of Total2019/20 Production
 million hectaresmillion metric tons million metric tons
Mato Grosso 5.81 36.15 43.7 34.60
Parana 2.38 13.48 16.3 11.41
Mato Grosso do Sul 2.10 11.08 13.4 8.64
Goias 1.65 10.62 12.8 10.39
Minas Gerais 0.60 3.76 4.5 2.85
Sao Paulo 0.53 2.71 3.2 2.33

Source: Conab April 2021 Crop Report