Brazilian Corn Goes Global: From the Middle to the Far East
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Brazilian Corn production continues to exceed expectations, with another record-breaking harvest. With high demand for Corn both domestically and internationally, farmers remain optimistic about continuing planting, increasing the expected planted area next season. However, Brazil’s logistic burdens, lack of storage facilities, and transportation challenges methods, aligned with higher production costs, remain a hurdle that could hamper the country’s production numbers.
Post sets its initial forecast for Corn planted area for MY 2023/24 (March 2024 – February 2025) at 22.8 million hectares (ha), a 1.3 percent increase on the current season. This expansion is based on the continued interest in Corn domestically and in international markets, which stimulates farmers to continue investing in this crop. Furthermore, relying on planting the second season Corn within the ideal planting window and favorable weather patterns, Brazil is set for another record-breaking Corn season in MY 2023/24. Under these conditions, Post sets its initial forecast for Corn production at 133 MMT, up 6.4 percent from the current season estimate, with Corn yield for MY 2023/24 set at 5.83 MT/ha.
Corn production estimate is down for MY 2022/23 (March 2023 – February 2024) to 125 MMT from its previous 125.5 MMT based on adverse weather conditions that affected the soybean harvest, consequently delaying the planting of Corn in key producing states, such as Mato Grosso. Brazilian farmers in various states traditionally plant Corn immediately after the soybean harvest. While this optimizes costs and allows for year-round crops, a delay in the harvest of soy causes farmers to push sowing Corn outside the ideal planting window, which can result in Corn maturing during the winter season (June to September), causing the plants to be more susceptible to frost and other harmful weather conditions which may affect yield.
Post, therefore, revises its yield estimate to 5.55 MT/ha from its previous 5.57 MT/ha for MY 2022/23. However, despite the delay in sowing, farmers have indicated continued interest in planting Corn, so Post expects planted area to remain set at 22.5 million hectares, the same as the previous estimate. According to AgFlow data, Brazil exported 7.3 million tons of Corn in Jan-Apr 2023. In April, Egypt led its export market with 77,424 tons, followed by South Korea (61,750 tons), Algeria (46,214 tons), and Indonesia (42,000 tons).
First Season Corn Harvest Outlook in Brazil
Corn is planted in Brazil year-round. First-season Corn, also known as “summer Corn,” was typically cultivated in southern Brazil but has now expanded to northeastern states. It is usually planted between August and December and harvested between January and June. It currently accounts for roughly 21.5 percent of all Corn production in the country, according to data from the National Supply Agency (CONAB).
Minas Gerais: Accounting for approximately 19 percent of first-season production, the state has registered some incidences of attacks of leafhoppers (Dalbulus maidis), which might hinder output, but the forecasts are still higher than the previous season.
Rio Grande do Sul: According to the Association of Technical and Rural Extension Enterprises of Rio Grande do Sul (EMATER/RS), the state has planted 810,380 hectares of Corn with a 4.44 MT/ha yield. This represents a reduction of almost 40 percent from the initial projection for the season. Yield was affected by insufficient moisture in the summer months (December to March). In regions hit by drought, farms were affected during the vegetative phases, making production unfeasible. Still, the state is responsible for the country’s second-largest producer of first-crop Corn, followed closely by Paraná.
Paraná: Responsible for approximately 14 percent of the production of first-season Corn, CONAB estimates that Paraná will produce 9.5 MMT, despite excess humidity that affected part of the crops at the beginning of the cycle and drought that hit the far west of the state.
Other sources: USDA
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