Oct 27, 2023

Purchase of Fertilizers for Safrinha Corn Lagging in Mato Grosso

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

Farmers in Mato Grosso have a difficult decision to make concerning their 2023/24 safrinha corn. Soybean planting in many areas of the state has been delayed due to hot and dry conditions and some of the early planted soybeans will need to be replanted. These delays will result in a delay in planting the safrinha corn in January and February.

The ideal planting window for safrinha corn in the state closes about the third week of February. Corn planted after that date runs the risk of lower yields, especially this year with an El Nino that can result in an early end to the summer rainy season.

Making the decision to plant safrinha corn even more difficult is the current low domestic corn prices in Mato Grosso. In February of 2023, the corn price in the mid-north region of Mato Grosso was above R$ 60.00 per sack (approximately $5.45 per bushel). Today, the price is below R$ 40.00 per sack (approximately $3.63 per bushel). Domestic corn prices are expected to improve somewhat before the end of the year, but it remains to be seen if they will improve enough to encourage farmers to plant all their intended safrinha corn.

Fertilizer purchases needed for safrinha corn have picked up slightly over the last two weeks, but they are still well behind last year. Farmers in the state have purchased 67% of the fertilizers needed for the safrinha corn crop. During the first half of October in 2022, farmers in the state had purchased more than 80% of their needed fertilizers,

Due to the current lack of margins for safrinha corn production in Mato Grosso, an analysts for Agrinvest Commodities is recommending to farmers that the first thing they consider is reducing their inputs for the safrinha corn. A second thing to consider is reducing the acreage if possible.

The Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea) is estimating that the safrinha corn acreage in Mato Grosso will decline 4.9% to 7.0 million hectares (17.2 million acres) and that the safrinha production will decline 11.5% to 44.8 million tons. This would represent approximately 49% of the safrinha corn produced in Brazil.