South American crop consultant Dr. Michael Cordonnier says the safrinha corn crop in Mato Grosso is pollinating or entering the grain filling stage in good shape. The earlier planted crop that is filling grain needs just another 1 to 2 inches of rain to assure good yields.
"Due to delays in harvesting the soybeans, approximately 15% to 20% of the safrinha corn in Mato Grosso was planted after the recommended planting window closed on February 20th. The late-planted corn is just now pollinating and it will need additional rainfall throughout the month of May in order to avoid moisture stresses during the grain filling period," he adds.
But while the yield outlook is positive, corn prices have fallen below levels hoped for by producers. Dr. Cordonnier says producers expect prices to continue falling below the cost of production and as a result, very little has been forward sold. Just 22% is forward priced, compared to 47% last year at this time.
"Farm organizations in the state have already indicated their desire for the federal government to step in and help support the corn prices. Conab (Brazil's crop production estimating agency) has already indicated that they will purchase some of the corn at the guaranteed minimum price through a series of auctions although the details have not yet been announced."
Dr. Cordonnier says producers are also worried that there will not be enough storage space for the corn. "The record large soybean crop has been slow to leave the state which means that many storage units will probably still be full of soybeans when the corn harvest begins in early June," he says. "This may force farmers to sell some of their corn immediately after harvest for a loss."
"Farmers in the state have already indicated that they intend to plant less safrinha corn next year opting for crops that are less costly to plant such as grain sorghum, sunflowers, dry beans, millet and rice. If cotton prices continue to strengthen, they may plant more safrinha cotton next year as well," adds Dr. Cordonnier.