Dec 13, 2023

2023/24 Brazil Corn Estimate to be Determined by Safrinha Acreage

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

Brazil's 2023/24 corn production will be determined largely by the safrinha corn acreage. The final safrinha acreage won't be known for several more months, but the decline will probably be more than the 4.5% estimated in Conab's December Report. In fact, an analyst for Agrinvest reported last week that purchases of seed and fertilizer for the 2023/24 safrinha corn crop are down 18-20% year-on-year, which is no surprise given the delayed soybean planting, erratic weather, and generally low corn prices.

Since the corn estimate was lowered 3 million tons last week, I decided to leave it unchanged this week while we wait for more information concerning the safrinha corn acreage.

The weather for the first corn crop in southern Brazil has been excessively wet, but a few sunny days last week were beneficial. The first corn crop is only going to represent about 21% of Brazil's total corn production, so Brazil's final corn production will depend on the safrinha corn crop. The first corn crop in Brazil was 95% planted as of late last week compared to 96% average.

Mato Grosso - The Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea) lowered their estimate of the 2023/24 corn acreage in the state to 7.02 million hectares (17.3 million acres), which is down 2.5% from their November estimate and down 6.2% from 2022/23.

Farmers in the state are reducing their safrinha corn acreage due to delayed soybean planting which will push safrinha corn planting past the ideal planting window which closes about the third week of February. Low domestic corn prices, which are currently at the breakeven point, offer no incentives for farmers to plant additional corn acreage. Farmers have also indicated that they will spend less on inputs for the 2023/24 safrinha corn. Farmers are switching some of their intended safrinha corn acreage to cotton, sesame, and sorghum.

An additional concern for farmers is the erratic weather resulting from La Nina. There is the potential for below normal rainfall during the safrinha corn growing season and an earlier-than-normal end to the summer rainy season. Should that occur, any late planted corn would run out of moisture before it reaches maturity.

Imea is estimating the statewide corn yield at 103.85 sacks per hectare (99.0 bu/ac) and a total corn production of 43.75 million tons. This would represent a reduction of 16.6% compared to 2022/23.

Parana - As of earlier last week, the first corn crop in Parana was 1% germinating, 33% in vegetative development, 40% pollinating, and 26% filling grain according to the Department of Rural Economics (Deral). The crop was rated 3% poor, 17% average, and 80% good.

Rio Grande do Sul - The corn in Rio Grande do Sul was 87% planted as of late last week and the crop development ranges from germinating to filling grain. The corn has taken on a better appearance with a few days of sunny weather, but earlier wet weather resulted in poor pollination for the most advanced corn. Additionally, Emater reported that 67,400 hectares of corn were lost due to flooding.

In their December Crop Report, Conab lowered the 2023/24 Brazil corn estimate 0.54 million tons from last month to 118.52 million (see next article). Conab usually releases their first safrinha corn acreage and production estimates based on field surveys in the February Crop Report. In the December WASDE, the USDA left the 2023/24 Brazil corn estimate unchanged at 129.0 million tons.