May 11, 2023

Record Corn Yields in Mato Grosso May Not Cover Costs

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

Farmers in Mato Grosso, in west-central Brazil, are confident in their safrinha corn yields, but low prices and high costs might only allow farmers to break even on their 2022/23 safrinha corn production. Additionally, a lack of grain storage and high freight rates could complicate their marketing plans.

In the municipality of Tapurah in central Mato Grosso, the majority of the safrinha corn was planted within the ideal planting window, which closed at the end of February. The weather during February-March-April was beneficial for the corn and farmers are expecting good yields. The early planted corn is maturing and the first fields will be harvested by the end of May. The later planted corn is filling grain and will be harvested during June.

The average corn yield in the municipality is estimated in the range of 120 sacks per hectare (114 bu/ac), which surpasses the long-term average yield of 100 to 110 sacks per hectare (95 to 105 bu/ac). Even with good yields, they may not be high enough to cover the cost of production.

A lack of storage space is another concern for farmers. Due to low soybean prices, farmers have been slow sellers of the 2022/23 soybeans, which leaves less storage space for their safrinha corn. Some farmers may be forced to sell their soybeans regardless of price to make room for the corn. Many farmers have purchased silo bags as temporary storage for their corn.

Additionally, freight rates are expected to increase due to the increased demand for trucks to transport what is expected to be a record safrinha corn production.