Dec 21, 2022

First Corn Crop Hurt by Dry Weather in Southern Brazil

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

The 2022/23 Brazil corn estimate was left unchanged this week at 125.5 million tons but developing dryness in southern Brazil is becoming a concern. There is a downside risk to the Brazilian corn production due to potential disappointing yields from the first corn crop which will account for approximately 21% of Brazil's total corn production in 2022/23.

The overall weather pattern in Brazil is evolving into generous rains in north-central and northern Brazil and below normal rainfall in southern Brazil. The weather in southern Brazil started to turn dryer during the second half of November and it continued generally dry into the first half of December.

The forecast for this week is calling for the heaviest rains across north-central and northern Brazil. Below normal rainfall is expected in Rio Grande do Sul and in western Santa Catarina and southwestern Parana. There may be increased chances of rain next week in southern Brazil.

Corn is the first crop impacted by the dryer conditions because the early planted corn in southern Brazil is in its critical reproductive phase. There is still some corn left to plant especially in Rio Grande do Sul where dry weather has slowed the final planting. The first crop corn in Brazil is nearly all planted except for Rio Grande do Sul. This is the third year in a row that dry weather has impacted corn production in southern Brazil.

Rio Grande do Sul - The state of Rio Grande do Sul has the largest first crop corn acreage of any state in Brazil followed closely by Minas Gerais and then Parana. Farmers in the state are expected to plant 831,500 hectares of first crop corn (2.05 million acres) or approximately 19% of Brazil's total first crop corn acreage. The first crop corn acreage in Brazil declined 2.8% in 2022/23 and the first corn crop is expected to produce 27.2 million tons or approximately 21.6% of Brazil's total corn production.

Irregular rains during the second half of November and early December have resulted in moisture stress and lower corn yields because the dry weather hit as the earlier planted corn entered its critical reproductive phase. Farmers in the state have been slow to finish their corn planting due to dry conditions and Emater indicated that corn planting only advanced 1% last week to 89% compared to 91% last year and 92% average.

Corn yield estimates are heading lower across the state, but how low depends on rainfall amounts. In the municipality of Santo Angelo in the northwestern part of the state, corn losses range from 50% to 100% with an average loss of 70-80%. Over the last two weeks, StoneX lowered their estimate for the state's corn production from 5.38 million tons at the start of December to 4.51 million tons on December 16th.

Parana - The first corn crop in Parana is 100% planted and the crop is 53% in vegetative development, 36% pollinating, and 11% filling grain. The corn is rated 2% poor, 16% average, and 82% good according to the Department of Rural Economics (Deral). The lowest rated corn is generally found in the southern part of the state where additional moisture is needed.

Minas Gerais - The state of Minas Gerais has the second largest acreage of first crop corn in Brazil. The corn was planted later than normal due to dry conditions, but the recent weather has improved and the forecast is calling for more rain in the corn producing regions of the state.