As the harvest of soybeans has taken longer, the pace of corn planting in Paraná, the second largest corn producer in Brazil has been the slowest in history. The higher-than-expected productivity in some areas of Brazil’s second corn crop (also known as “safrinha“) is expected to more than compensate for the planting delay and ensure record numbers in 2022/23.
Harvest is expected to reach 102.4 million tons, a 10% increase compared to the previous cycle, according to estimates released this week by Rally da Safra, an expedition that covers the main agricultural areas in Brazil, organized by Agroconsult. In the previous estimate made in March, the projection was for a harvest of 97.2 million tons.
According to André Debastiani, coordinator of Rally da Safra, crop productivity will also be a record, reaching 102.1 sacks per hectare. This represents an 11% increase compared to the previous harvest.
The yield of crops in Mato Grosso and Goiás has driven the national result upwards. Productivity in both states will be 116 and 114 sacks per hectare, respectively. In both cases, the performance will be a record.
Agroconsult also estimated an unprecedented volume of corn exports. Brazil is expected to ship 54.1 million tons of corn, which is 11.3% more than in the last cycle when a record was set.
However Brazil may face challenges in achieving these numbers despite favorable export prospects. André Pessôa, CEO of Agroconsult, stated that there will be “great pressure on the Brazilian logistics system until the end of the year” due to the safrinha corn harvest, which is expected to gain momentum in June.
“Besides the warehouses full of soybeans and the volume yet to be exported, freight prices for corn will be higher this year. We have supply and demand to meet the 54 million tons, but logistical problems resulting from a robust harvest could hinder the export estimate, although I still believe it will exceed 50 million tons,” Pessôa said in an interview with journalists.
Although the planting delay did not affect production estimates, the area for safrinha corn will be smaller than initially projected. In January of this year, Agroconsult estimated that the crop would cover 17.4 million hectares; now, the consultancy projects an area of 16.7 million hectares, nearly the same as in the 2021/22 cycle.
According to the company, the extension of the soybean harvest has affected the planting of the second corn crop. In some regions, such as Paraná, the second largest corn producer in the country, the planting has been the slowest in history. As a result, Agroconsult estimates that 6 million hectares of the second corn crop were planted outside the considered ideal period.
“However, this does not necessarily mean a loss of productivity. It depends on the weather going forward. In Paraná, for example, where 64% of the crop was planted outside the ideal period, there is no frost predicted for the next 30 days,” noted André Debastiani.
Meanwhile corn exports from Brazil totaled US$ 57.055 million in May (14 working days), with a daily average of US$ 4.075 million. The total amount of corn exported by the country was 149,999 thousand tons, with an average of 10,714 thousand tons. The average price per ton was US$ 380.40.
Compared to May 2022, there was a significant decline in average daily export value, down by 76.1%. Additionally, the average daily quantity exported dropped by 78.3%, while there was a 10.3% increase in the average price. These statistics were released by the Foreign Trade Secretariat.