Oct 20, 2023

Dry Weather Could Delay Cotton Planting in Mato Grosso

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

Cotton farmers in Brazil are concerned about current dry conditions delaying soybean planting and subsequently delaying the safrinha cotton planting as well. Mato Grosso is the largest cotton producing state in Brazil responsible for more than 70% of Brazil's cotton production with most of the cotton planted after soybeans (safrinha).

The ideal planting window for safrinha cotton in Mato Grosso closes at the end of January with cotton planted after that date running an increased risk of lower yields due to a lack of moisture before the crop matures. Farmers want to plant their soybeans as early as possible to allow enough time to plant cotton. Unfortunately, the weather has not cooperated with areas of Mato Grosso registering below normal rainfall and above normal temperatures thus far this planting season.

An additional concern this year is that El Nino may result in an early end to the summer rainy season increasing the risk of lower cotton yields. In fact, the Brazilian Minister of Agriculture allowed selected cotton farmers in Mato Grosso to plant their soybeans two weeks earlier than normal so they could plant cotton as early as possible.

Safrinha cotton competes with safrinha corn for acreage in Mato Grosso and potential margins for cotton are greater than for corn, so farmers would prefer to plant cotton in 2023/24.

Rainfall in Mato Grosso is forecasted to increase during the last week of October, but it remains to be seen if the rainfall will come soon enough to enable farmers to plant cotton before the ideal planting window closes at the end of January.

In 2022/23, Brazil produced 3.23 million tons of cotton and that is expected to increase to potentially 3.5 million tons or more according to the Brazilian Cotton Council. According to the USDA, Brazil is expected to surpass the United States in cotton production in 2023/24 and move into third place following China and India.