Dec 15, 2021

2021/22 Brazil's First Corn Crop Impacted by Dry Weather

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

Dry weather continues to take a toll on Brazil's first corn crop as it pollinates and fills grain. The state of Rio Grande do Sul has been the state most impacted and yield losses are expected to be at least 10-20% or more depending on future weather. The northwestern part of the state has been the hardest hit with losses as high as 80% or more. There are even reports of farmers cutting their corn for forage so they can plant soybeans instead.

The damage has not been confined to just the state of Rio Grande do Sul. Yield losses are also being reported in the states of Parana, Santa Catarina, and Sao Paulo, but losses in those states are more localized than in Rio Grande do Sul.

Rio Grande do Sul - As mentioned earlier, the corn in Rio Grande do Sul has been severely impacted by hot and dry conditions as the crop is pollinating and filling grain. Losses are irreversible and they could get worst. The forecast is calling for light showers this week with volumes generally less than three quarters of an inch.

Parana - The Department of Rural Economics (Deral) reported earlier last week that the first corn crop in Parana was 39% in vegetative development, 48% pollinating, and 13% filling grain. The corn was rated 1% poor, 9% average, and 90% good.

Conab December Corn Estimate - In their December Crop Report released on Thursday, December 9th, Conab increased Brazil's 2021/22 corn estimate by 0.47 million tons to 117.18 million. The increase in Brazil's corn estimate was entirely due to a larger estimate for the first corn crop. They estimated that the first corn crop acreage increased by 50,000 hectares compared to November and that the first crop corn yield increased by 0.5 bu/ac to 102.5 bu/ac.

The corn yield increase was widely discounted by analysts, including myself, as not reflecting the current situation in southern Brazil. Approximately 50% of the first corn crop production is in the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Parana, Santa Catarina, and Sao Paulo and all these states are suffering from various levels of moisture stress. Losses from the first corn crop could be as high as 5 million tons depending on future weather. I expect that Conab will lower their first corn crop estimate in subsequent reports. The USDA is estimating the 2021/22 Brazilian corn production at 118.0 million tons.

Below is a table of the first corn crop production estimates for 2020/21 and 2021/22. The production data is from Conab's December Crop Report.

First Corn Crop Production in Brazil – 2020/21 vs. 2021/22

State2020/21 1st Corn Production
million tons
2021/22 1st Corn Production
Rio Grande do Sul4.39 5.94
Minas Gerais 5.05 5.24
Parana 3.12 4.19
Santa Catarina 1.98 2.96
Sao Paulo 1.84 1.84
Brazil Total 24.72 29.06