Apr 06, 2022

Potential Dryness and Frost Worry Safrinha Corn Producers

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

Most of Brazil's safrinha corn belt remained dry over the weekend and the northern safrinha corn is forecasted to remain dry for at least the next 10 days. The northern safrinha corn started the season with ample soil moisture, but the weather has turned dryer and there is not much rain in the forecast. If the soil moisture does not improve over the next few weeks, it could become a concern for the safrinha corn. I currently have a neutral bias for the Brazilian corn estimate, but it could turn negative if the rainfall does not improve in central Brazil.

The prospect of frost always hangs over the safrinha corn production in southern Brazil and this year is no different. There were frosts last week in the higher elevations of the state of Santa Catarina and there were also frosts last week in the southern production areas of Argentina. In both areas, the frosts were very early. Any frost before the end of June in the safrinha corn areas of southern Brazil could be problematic for the safrinha corn.

Mato Grosso - The safrinha corn planting was mostly complete in Mato Grosso by early March, which was much ahead of last year when the soybean harvest was delayed. The Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea) estimates that approximately 93% of the corn was planted during the ideal planting window and into good conditions. Early planting is essential for the corn to mature before the onset of the dry season in early May. Mato Grosso is Brazil's largest safrinha corn producing state.

Brazilian scientists use remote sensing to determine the Vegetation Health Index of crops to estimate plant health, plant nutrition, moisture deficits, etc. The most recent Vegetation Health Index for the safrinha corn in Mato Grosso indicated that the crop health is similar to the same period in 2018/19 and 2019/20. In 2018/19 the safrinha corn yield in the state was 110.9 sacks per hectare (105.7 bu/ac) and in 2019/20 it was 109.2 sacks per hectare (104.1 bu/ac).

According to the consulting firm TempoCampo, the current Vegetation Health Index indicates a safrinha corn yield in Mato Grosso of 107.3 sacks per hectare (102.3 bu/ac).

Conab is currently estimating Brazil's 2021/22 safrinha corn production at 86.2 million tons compared to 60.7 million tons last year. The first crop corn is estimated at 24.3 million tons, which would put the total Brazilian 2021/22 corn production at just over 112 million tons compared to 87 million tons last year.

Parana - The Department of Rural Economics increased their estimate of the safrinha corn production in the state of Parana last week by 400,000 tons to 15.9 million tons. The safrinha corn acreage increased 7% compared to last year to 2.7 million hectares (6.6 million acres). If verified, the 2021/22 production would be almost triple that of 2020/21.

The safrinha corn was 97% planted as of earlier last week with 3% germinating, 84% in vegetative development, 11% pollinating, and 2% filling grain. The safrinha corn was rated 3% average and 97% good.

Mato Grosso do Sul - Farmers in the state had planted 95% of their safrinha corn as of late last week compared to 91.8% last year and 97.5% average according to the Agriculture and Livestock Federation of Mato Grosso do Sul (Famasul). Farmers in the state are concerned about the long-range weather, so they have forward contracted only 12% of their anticipated production compared to 26% last year at this time.