Dry Spell in Brazil Hits Second-Corn


Brazil’s northern growing regions are continually suffering dry weather, which peaks in June, July and August. The lasting drought is likely to hurt Brazil’s second-corn, prompting flashbacks to the ill-fated 2018 harvest.

Second corn, also known as the safrinha, is cultivated after soybeans as a rotation crop in Brazil, the world’s second largest exporter of the crop. It is quite important as it will determine how much corn is available for Brazil’s export program. In 2018, it is expected to account for 71 percent of the country’s total corn production, helping the country compete globally with the top producer, the United States.

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However, up to 20 percent of second corn in Brazil may be at stake in the near future, probably followed by additional one-third if the drought persists until the end of May and leaves some regions on alert. According to INTL FCStone, a consultancy, dry conditions last month brought down average yield estimates for safrinha crop to 5.15 tonnes per hectare from 5.37 tonnes in its April forecast. In addition, the consultancy reduced its forecast for the output of the commodity by 4 percent to 60.5 million tonnes.

712 - Dry Spell in Brazil Hits Second-Corn

  • Dry Conditions Wreck in North  

Fortunately in Brazil, unseasonably heavy rainfall through March built favorable planting environment for safrinha crop in the prime northern production areas. If the weather will stay very dry in May as well as the following months, the temporary soil conditions would not last long, leaving the yield of the winter corn below the average.

The state of Goiás has the most serious drought, while this area produces around 11 percent of Brazil’s second corn volume. April precipitation was surprisingly low this year and soil moisture is already on the downturn. The next few weeks are forecast to be bone-dry. Nearby, the southeastern part of Mato Grosso and the western chunk of Minas Gerais, making up approximately 10 percent of Brazil’s second corn, lack rainfall as well with a gloomy forecast.

  • South Maybe Luckier  

Corn yield is hit in Goiás, Mato Grosso do Sul and Paraná due to lack of rains during the crucial filling stage when corn kernels develop. The three areas are anticipated to contribute a combined 32.5 million tones of corn this season. In addition to the weather issue, planting delays also lead to slashing output and yields, after farmers in plenty of areas harvested soy later due to rainy conditions that postponed planting of corn, as per Marco Antonio dos Santos, a forecaster at weather consultancy Rural Clima. The tighter supplies already increased domestic corn prices to nearly 36 percent in April, compared to the same month last year, according to the University of Sao Paulo. Followed by commodity price increase, the price of second corn futures is waiting another round of rising.

The south suffered an extremely dry month in April. This includes the states of Paraná and Mato Grosso do Sul, which together occupy one-third of Brazil’s second corn. Temperatures in these regions have also been hovering on the average. But in the south rainfall is not as seasonal as in the north, a stingy forecast that May and June will also be dry may be ill-founded. Soil moisture in Paraná and Mato Grosso do Sul this year is only slightly lower than the level in the same month a year ago, indicating that the recent dry weather does not affect the south that much as in the north.


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