Is Brazil's Second Corn Crop in Danger?

April 14, 2016 11:22 AM

It’s April, and the 2016 corn crop is just getting started in the United States. In contrast, Brazil’s second crop has reached pollination stage. And that’s reason for concern, according to Bill Kirk, CEO of Weather Trends International.

Back in December 2015, Kirk warned that it was “feast or famine with extreme weather across Brazil.” Cut to April 2016, and he isn’t feeling any more optimistic.

Brazilians often double-crop corn behind soybeans, known locally as the “Safrinha” or “little crop.” If weather continues to prove uncooperative, the little crop will truly live up to its name this year, Kirk says.

Mato Grosso is the biggest Safrinha corn growing region in Brazil, and the 2016 trends for April don't look good,” Kirk says. "[It’s the] hottest in 17 years, second-hottest on record and driest in six years with much below-average rainfall.”

Hot weather has plagued the country’s three major corn producing areas, Kirk adds, delivering daytime highs between 92 °F and 97 °F from April 7 to 11. Two of Brazil’s top three grain producing regions are set to see more record hot weather over the next two weeks, he adds. Click here for more of his insights into current Brazil weather conditions.

The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics slightly lowered its 2016 grain harvest projections earlier in April but says it could still top 2015’s record haul of 209.5 total million metric tons.

Incidentally, Brazil has also recently emerged as a major importer of U.S. ethanol, which is good good news for some U.S. plants in danger of closing or falling temporarily idle, according to Christoph Berg, managing director of commodity researcher F.O. Licht GMbH in Ratzeburg, Germany.

“The export market is the only hope the U.S. market has for balancing supply,” he says.

The Safrinha corn crop is typically harvested beginning in May and June.

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