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Brazil Corn, Bean Crops Up

South American Crop Watch

Despite weather delays, South America's crop is significantly larger than last year

Published on: March 12, 2013
Even as USDA's latest Supply-Demand report made no change to U.S. soybean production, Brazil issued its new crop estimate last week. With an estimated 37% of the Brazilian soybean crop already harvested, The Ministry of Agriculture's Conab agency lowered its soybean production estimate by 1.6% to 82.1 million tonnes. It blamed dry weather in parts of Paraná and Rio Grande do Sul states, but that number is still up nearly 24% from last season due to a larger planted area and more favorable weather, generally, in the South.

Near constant rains in the top-producing Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, origin of 29% of the national crop, had kept soybean harvesters—and the corn planters that are supposed to run behind them—out of fields. But the weather has improved, and producers there have been able to make some progress on the harvest. 

Some of that progress was too late for that state's farmers to get second-crop corn into the ground while still in the optimum planting window, and plenty of acres normally devoted to second-crop corn were shifted to sorghum, cotton or other crop.

Still, Mato Grosso producers' intended second-crop corn area is larger this year, and Conab projected state production up, despite the rains, more than seven percent. Number-two second-crop corn state, Paraná, facing much better weather, is slated to increase its second-crop corn production this season nearly 11 percent to 11.2 million tonnes—no real surprise after a move to more second-crop corn in that state saved the year for many Paraná soybean farmers last season after dry weather knocked bean yields into the dirt.

As a result, the agency put Brazil's total corn 2012-13 corn production (between two crops) at 76 million tonnes, up just better than four percent from last season.

So Brazilian corn and bean production are both on the increase, as the latest government report shows. One just wonders how they're going to get all that product from field to port at a reasonable cost.