Brazil will harvest 87.28 million tons of corn in the 2017-18 season, federal government crop agency Conab said in a monthly report, down from 88 million tons in its February report. The 2016-17 harvest was 97.84 million tons.
Brazil produces two corn crops per year. The first crop is planted in summer at the same time as the soybean crop, while the second, or winter, crop is planted in the same areas as soybeans immediately after the oilseeds are harvested.
For the first corn crop, Conab raised its projection to 25.12 million tons, from 24.75 million tons in February. It was 30.46 million tons in 2016-17.
For the second corn crop, currently being planted, Conab cut the projected production to 62.16 million tons, from 63.26 million tons in February due to a smaller than expected planted area and lower yields.
Conab said delays in soybean harvest were affecting corn planting in some regions. In Mato Grosso state, for example, 20% of the second corn crop will be planted after the end of the ideal weather window.
Lower investments in technology, like high yield seeds and larger volumes of fertilizers, should also impact corn productivity in various regions, the agency said. Brazil produced 67.38 million tons of corn in the second crop in 2016-17.
Conab said it expected the 2017-18 soybean crop to reach 113.02 million tons, up from 111.56 million tons forecast in February. It would still be below 2016-17's record 114.08 million tons.
The figures for soybeans are conservative compared with many private analysts which already peg Brazilian soybean crop above 117 million tons, given the area increased year on year and current yields were above initial expectations.