Oct 14, 2021

Brazilian Farmers Actively Harvesting their 2021 Wheat

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

Brazilian farmers in southern Brazil are actively harvesting their 2021 winter wheat. The state of Parana is usually Brazil's largest wheat producing state, but the production in Parana this year is less than anticipated due to dry weather and a series of frosts in July and August.

According to the Department of Rural Economics (Deral), the wheat in Parana is 58% harvested and the crop is rated 3% poor, 20% average, and 77% good. The earlier harvested wheat was most impacted by the adverse weather and yields of the later harvested wheat are expected to improve.

Deral is estimating the 2021 wheat production in Parana at 3.5 million tons, which is less than their initial estimate of 3.9 million tons, but still better than last year's production of 3.1 million. The spot price for wheat in the state is R$ 90.00 per sack (approximately $7.50 per bushel).

The state of Rio Grande do Sul is usually Brazil's second largest wheat producer, but this year it may end up in first place. Farmers are just starting to harvest their wheat and early yields are encouraging. Emater is estimating that the state will produce 3.59 million tons of wheat in 2021, or 70% more than the 2.1 million produced last year. If the production estimate is verified, Rio Grande do Sul would surpass the state of Parana as Brazil's top wheat producer.

As a way to expand wheat production in Brazil, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Service (Embrapa) has been promoting winter wheat production in the cerrado regions of central Brazil. The wheat in central Brazil would be planted after the soybeans are harvested. Initial results have been very encouraging.

In the municipality of Cristalina in eastern Goias, producer Paulo Bonato just set a new wheat production record of 160.5 sacks per hectare (143 bu/ac) for his 2021 wheat production. He has held the record for Brazilian wheat production for several years. He attributes his success to selecting the correct varieties, adopting new technologies such as precision agriculture, fertilizing for maximum production, irrigation, and paying attention to details.

In addition to record wheat yields, he also sold his wheat for the very good price of R$ 110.00 per sack (approximately $9.25 per bushel). Wheat millers in central Brazil are willing to pay a premium for high quality wheat produced in the region instead of having to pay for transporting in wheat that is produced in southern Brazil. The wheat produced in central Brazil tends to be higher quality than the wheat produced in southern Brazil.

Embrapa has developed wheat varieties for the cerrado region of central Brazil, and they feel that is the key for Brazil to become self-sufficient in wheat production. Currently there are 200,000 hectares of safrinha wheat production in central Brazil and that is expected to increase to 300,000 hectares in the next few years. Traditionally, Brazil imports approximately half of its wheat needs mainly from neighboring Argentina.