Oct 19, 2021

Uncertainty Concerning Fertilizers Could Impact Safrinha Corn

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

Brazilian farmers have only purchased approximately 40% of their needed fertilizers for their safrinha corn crop as of the end of August, which is about normal. Many farmers wait until they have a better idea concerning their soybean production before they commit to purchasing inputs for the safrinha corn. Normally, the purchasing of inputs for the safrinha corn ramp up during the months of November and December.

The recent surg in fertilizer prices has caught many producers by surprise and farmers who have not purchased their needed fertilizers, may be forced to pay even higher prices with non-delivery as a possibility due to supply shortfalls. Brazil imports approximately 80% of their fertilizer needs, which puts the country at the mercy of foreign suppliers.

What does this mean for safrinha corn production? Safrinha corn production by nature is a risky proposition, so farmers are usually cautious when it comes to fertilizer applications. For the farmers who have not purchased any fertilizers for their safrinha corn, they will probably apply less fertilizers as a way to hold down production costs.

Some farmers have floated the idea that they may plant their corn without fertilizers. Corn yields would probably decline 20% to 30% if no fertilizers were applied, but since domestic corn prices as so good in Brazil, a farmer might maintain the same margins on his corn production due to the reduced costs.