Just as USDA predicted a big U.S. corn crop for 2012, Brazilians—especially those in the big corn-producing states of Paraná and Mato Grosso—are set for a big second-crop corn harvest.
Paraná, in the southern part of the country, is already Brazil's top main-crop corn producer. And the state has been trending toward more and more second-crop corn following those beans. Farmers there are slated to plant nearly 4.8 million acres of second-crop corn this year, up 12.5 percent from last year.
That jump is partially based on a La Nina weather pattern that gave southern Brazilian farmers lower soybean yields due to a dry December and an even drier January. But the La Nina effect is just hastening a trend toward more second-crop corn that had already been in place in Paraná.
Meanwhile, farther north, in what is already Brazil's top second-crop corn state, Mato Grosso, producers are predicted to have planted a whopping 39% more second-crop corn this season. That's likely due to another facet of the La Nina effect: a rainy season that not only begins later, but that ends later. Second-crop cotton is typically a good bet in a place where Mother Nature tends to shut the spigots off definitively no later than mid-May, when bolls are forming and opening. But, in this La Nina year, Mato Grosso farmers went heavier—39% heavier—on second-crop corn, on the bet the rains this year wouldn't drop off so soon. And they were right. It's rare to read in the papers here about any June harvesting activities getting slowed down by rain.
But those have been among the headlines this year from Mato Grosso.
With Brazil's two top corn states joined by the lesser lights in corn production, one Brazilian federal agency, Conab, said total 2012 Brazilian second-crop will have been planted on 17.7 million acres, up from last year's 14.5 million acres. And total second-crop corn production will rise from last season's 21.5 million tonnes, to an estimated 30 million tonnes if the rains just manage to keep coming long enough. And all the indications are that they will.
The combination of the main and second corn crops, says the Conab agency, will be 65.9 million tonnes of total Brazilian corn production (main-crop plus second-crop,) up nearly 15% from last season.
And that's a lot of corn.
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