Production in Brazil’s 20/21 gains strength with second crop of corn

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     Porto Alegre, January 19, 2021 – The Brazilian corn crop recovered in December due to better rain in most of the growing regions. January followed this regional profile but still without resolving serious issues generated in October and November. Therefore, the losses present in the corn crop have not been reversed, mainly because they were recorded during the pollination period. However, later crops now achieve better regional development and with the projection of normal productivity. On the other hand, in February, we will have the advance of the soybean harvest and the early planting of the 2021 second corn crop. This second crop reflects price conditions and the positive bias of producers towards planting. A new record area to be planted must be confirmed, with the weather in the fall being the factor of attention.

     Brazil’s 20/21 summer crop is now more favorable compared to the beginning of December. The rain in the second half of December and at the beginning of January have regulated crop conditions in much of Brazil’s Center-South. The rain for the last ten days has reached practically the whole country and solved part of the problems of scarcity of rain in several regions.

     However, there are some very clear situations at this point:

     – Crop losses in the west of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina are irreversible, and the rain in December and January does not change this profile at all, that is, the losses exist and are quite evident. The harvest that already started in these regions, in farms that have not been converted into silage, has an average yield of 20 to 40 bags per hectare. These averages are not expected to improve in the plantations yet to be reaped in January and February in these locations;

     – On the other hand, the other locations in the center-east of the South region are later and entered the decisive phase of production in December. With good rain returning and going on in January, the crops are benefited and show normal potential productivity of nearly 100 bags per hectare or more. The same happens in São Paulo, Minas Gerais, and eastern Goiás, regions that have a corn summer crop. In such locations, however, the harvest only starts from March.

     In general, therefore, due to rain this summer, it seems that the risks to the summer crop are now reduced, and production is now projected at 19.4 million tons in the Center-South. The productivity at harvest will define the size of this summer crop.

     The 2021 second crop, in turn, will start to be planted from the end of this month, with the advance of the soybean harvest. There is some planting already being carried out in the west and south of Mato Grosso, however, the volumes are isolated, since most of the premature soybean area is being switched to cotton. Soybeans do not have a normal crop this year, with several problems in Brazil. The planting delay is not a problem for soybeans, but for subsequent cultures.

     In most corn’s second-crop locations, the planting must start in early February and advance through March without any difficulty. We do not see this planting window as a serious problem because planting in January is really very difficult and it is not usual albeit advisable. The fact is that the slightly below-normal rainfall regime in some regions, even in Mato Grosso, may advance the crop cycle a little and enable an earlier-than-expected harvest. The fact is that soybeans being reaped in February and March will allow an excellent planting of the second crop of corn, even if this later planting may imply some potential loss of productivity, which is not a new fact for the second crop.

     Of course, the climatic variable is fundamental to the definition of production. However, even with a small regional problem, such as a drought in the Midwest or frost in the South, the record planted area of ??14.12 million hectares can guarantee total production. Now, we project production at around 84 million tons, already considering losses in productivity potential with the later planting and waiting for the weather in the fall/winter to define the final size of the second crop. What is quite clear is that the planting will confirm a new record area, and if the rain is favorable in February, it will not be surprising if the volume of the area is larger.

     The North and Northeast regions have a small summer crop. There is a strong area growth in the planting in Sergipe now also in the summer. The area is rising from 6,000 hectares to 24,000 hectares, a factor motivated by high prices. In the other regions of western Bahia, Piauí and Maranhão, the conditions of the February and March rain still require great attention, both for soybeans and the planting of the local second crop.

     In general, therefore, we have a summer crop that remains discreet and an excellent expectation towards the second-crop planting in both the Center-South and Matopiba. We are increasing the production potential to 113.5 million tons for the 2021 crop mainly due to the good expectation with the 2021 second crop.

     Agência SAFRAS Latam

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