Sep 17, 2021

Brazil's First Corn Crop Production Could Increase 7 Million Tons

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

Brazilian farmers have started to plant their 2021/22 first corn crop in southern Brazil with the hope of a good crop. Thus far, the soil moisture has been good especially in the state of Rio Grande do Sul where the corn is over 50% planted. Reports from the field indicate good germination and stand establishment.

The president of the Brazilian Corn Producers Association (Abramilho) is expecting a first crop corn production of 32 million tons which would be 7 million more than last year. Last year's crop was down 5 million tons from initial expectations due to dry weather in southern Brazil. Therefore, the 2021/22 crop is expected to recoup the 5 million tons lost last year and add an additional 2 million tons.

The first crop of corn is planted in southern and southeastern Brazil, and it accounts for approximately 25% of Brazil's total corn production. In recent years, acreage of the first corn crop has been in decline as farmers opted for more safrinha corn production, which accounts for approximately 75% of Brazil total corn production. Farmers preferred to plant a first crop of soybeans followed by a second crop of corn.

That pattern is expected to change this year as farmers increase their first corn crop acreage due to the prospect of strong profit margins for corn production.

Domestic corn supplies are extremely tight in Brazil for several reasons, one of which is very low yields for Brazilian corn production. Typical first crop corn yields in Brazil are in the range of 5,000 to 5,500 kg/ha (79.5 to 87.5 bu/ac) compared to U.S. corn yields as high as 12,000 kg/ha (190 bu/ac). First crop corn yields in Brazil are low because much of the corn is produced by small family farmers in southern Brazil that utilize low levels of technology.

The demand for Brazilian corn has increased significantly in recent years, but the production has not been able to keep pace with the demand. The president of Abramilho indicated that one of the organization's main objectives is to increase corn yields for both the first crop and for the safrinha crop.