Brazil Update

Time to talk about Brazilian corn

By Daniele Siqueira

I’m here again to bring you a new update on Brazilian soybean and corn crops. In a normal year, about 20% of Brazil’s soybean area would be harvested by now. This year, less than half of that is harvested so far, because the crop was planted later than normal (it was too dry in September and October) and also because overcast skies and constant rains in the second half of January slowed down the crop development.

Daniele Siqueira

The delayed crop, combined with virtually non-existent beginning stocks, has had an impact on Brazilian supply and exports, as I warned here months ago. In January, Brazil exported only 49.5 thousand metric tons of soybeans — the weakest result for the month in seven years. In January 2020, shipments reached 1.4 million metric tons.

In February, the vessel lineup shows that 9 million metric tons of soybeans could be shipped by the end of the month.… Continue reading

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Brazilian agribusiness: A rising king?

By Roberta Paffaro

Brazilian agribusiness has been highlighted over last decade for a couple of reasons. It became a major producer and exporter of soybeans in the world. In the 2020/21 crop, despite all the weather issues and late planting, Brazil expects to harvest 129.7 million tons, a 6.8% increase compared to 2020. Brazilian soybeans are the “little darling” of China — the main destination for exports. Brazil already sold almost 90% of all soybean production due to strong prices sustained by the devaluation of the Real in 2020.

Roberta Paffaro

What about corn? Brazil has two crops in the year. The first one is between October to December and the second, which is called “safrinha,” is from January to April. The total corn crop production is expected by analysts to be 103.2 million metric tons (mt). 

Brazil became a very important worldwide corn supplier in the last decade. According to CONAB (National Supply Company), Brazil produced 50 million mt in the 2008/2009 crop.… Continue reading

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Good crop, strong exports and the Amazon

By Daniele Siqueira

The last time I wrote here, in mid-December, there were all sorts of rumors around the 2020-21 Brazilian soybean crop, because it was planted about 30 days later than normal due to irregular rains in September, October and November.

The Brazilian delay was one of the main bullish fundamentals at that time in Chicago. Not that the crop was necessarily headed for a disaster (soybeans don’t fail during the vegetative stage!), but because the delay, combined to virtually zero beginning stocks, would leave Brazil out of the export game in January.

That would make room for more U.S. sales, especially to China — something that is really happening now and helping boost international prices even further, along with a very tight supply and demand balance in the U.S., speculations around the crop development in Argentina (it’s doing fine so far, by the way) and tensions between that country’s government and farmers.… Continue reading

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Brazil watching U.S. crop

Since last November, I have had the opportunity to write a biweekly column about Brazilian corn and soybeans for Ohio’s Country Journal. Now, with the 2013-14 soybean crop already harvested and 70% sold down here, and with the second corn crop (the famous “safrinha”) finishing its pollinating stage, it’s time for me to say goodbye and focus on the new U.S. crop.

With a record 72.9 million acres planted with soybeans, Brazil started the season in October with high expectations. The goal of producing 90 million tons (3.307 billion bushels), however, was not achieved due to a hot and dry spell in early 2014, which damaged part of the crop in some regions.

In January and February, when everybody else (USDA, the Brazilian crop agency Conab and other private consulting firms) were still estimating a huge crop, AgRural, the company I work with, was already warning that yields would be lower than expected.… Continue reading

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Time to take a look at Brazilian corn production

With 85% of the Brazilian soybean area harvested by Apr 11, and with everybody expecting a production around 86 million tons (3.160 billion bushels), it’s time to take a look at the Brazilian corn production. The first crop, also known as “summer crop,” and planted from September to December, was damaged by the same heat wave that, earlier this year, resulted in a loss of 4 million tons (147 million bushels) of soybeans. The summer corn crop is estimated by AgRural to be 28.9 million tons (1.138 billion bushels), with a 10% annual decrease in acreage (due to the low prices seen in the second half of 2013) and a 7% drop in the average yield. On April 10, 56% of the area was harvested.

But the main corn crop in Brazil is not the summer crop anymore. The second crop, also known as “safrinha” (“little crop” in Portuguese), has gained more and more importance over the last few years.… Continue reading

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Is the grass a little greener in Argentina?

When I lived in Iowa in 2007 and 2008, working in AgRural’s small branch office in Des Moines, many Americans used to ask me about Argentina. They knew I was from Brazil but, even so, after talking a bit about how the crops were doing in my country, those guys always wanted to know about my South American neighbors. In general, I was not that well informed, especially because at that time I was more focused on U.S. agriculture. And, after all, Brazil and Argentina are very different countries, for better and for worse.

After coming back home, however, I started to pay much more attention to Argentina and its powerful agricultural sector. In 2011, I flew to the capital Buenos Aires for the first time, rented a car and, with the help of some good contacts, spent a few days driving around their main corn and soybean provinces — Buenos Aires, Santa Fe and Cordoba.… Continue reading

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Crop failure concerns growing in Brazil

It is mid-March and you, American farmer, are getting ready to start planting the 2014-15 crop. Here in Brazil, we are already concerned about the size of the soybean area that will be planted up there, since the U.S. is expected to boost the acreage to a historically high level this year. But our main concern, for now, is still our own crop failure — a crop failure that you, who take some time once every two weeks to read this column, have known about since mid-January, when a heat wave and very dry conditions were already damaging some of our fields.

Just very recently, however, the Brazilian crop agency Conab, the USDA and most of the private consulting firms admitted that our soybean crop is smaller than 90 million tons (3.307 billion bushels). On March 10, the USDA reduced its forecast from 90 million tons to 88.5 million (3.252 billion bushels) — still a very large crop.… Continue reading

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Lackluster Brazilian soybean harvest may fuel the bull

In my last couple of articles I warned that the Brazilian soybean crop would be lower than expected. In mid-January, during a severe heat wave, it was clear that many areas planted later were under significant weather stress, especially when rainfall became scarce, intensifying the effect of high temperatures on fields that were blooming or filling pods. At that time, the consulting firm I work with, AgRural, had already forecasted a production of 88.8 million tons (3.263 billion bushels), below the 90 million ton target (3.307 billion bushels).

In mid-February, we cut the forecast to 87 million tons (3.197 billion bushels), even with all the other consulting firms and even the USDA and the Brazilian crop agency Conab still estimating 90 million tons or more. How could we know that Brazil would have a crop failure (minor, but still a crop failure) before everybody? Satellites? Complex mathematical formulas? Luck? No. Just a close and honest relationship with experienced farmers all over the country, who help us see what is going on with their crop every year.… Continue reading

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Rain brings relief to soybean yield potential in Brazil

After a scary heat and drought spell in January and early February, it is raining again in Brazil and temperatures are much milder. This is good news for the soybean areas planted later, which were blooming or filling pods under very stressful conditions. On Feb. 14, the local consults for AgRural lowered again its production forecast, this time from 88.8 million to 87 million tons (3.197 billion bushels).

With favorable weather from now on, some areas might still recover part of their yield potential, which would result in a larger crop than estimated right now. However, despite the latest USDA supply and demand report, which raised the Brazilian crop forecast by 1 million tons, the dream of producing 90 million tons will not come true, as I wrote in my last articles. Last year, the country harvested 81.5 million tons.

By Feb 14, 21% of the Brazilian soybean area was harvested, compared to 16% a year ago.… Continue reading

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Brazil’s soybean crop coming down to the wire

Some American friends say they don’t like soccer — the Brazilian national passion — because it is a very slow and boring sport. In fact, a soccer match can be tied at 0-0 for its entire 90 minutes (45 minutes each half) and end tied, without scoring even a single point (called a “goal” by the way). My typical answer is that one of the biggest thrills of soccer is that everything can change in the very last minute. Even in a World Cup final. That’s why we have a popular expression here in Brazil for something that happens at the very end, coming out of the blue. We say “at the 45th minute of the second half.”

For the 2013-14 soybean crop, the 45th minute of the second half starts now, in February. A significant part of the crop is already dropping leaves or being harvested. The yields reported from the fields have been very good, except for a few areas in southern Mato Grosso do Sul and Goias where the crop was damaged by a spell of dry and hot weather in December.… Continue reading

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Big yield, or crop failure or both in Brazil

The soybean harvest is underway in Brazil and, with favorable weather conditions in most of the country since late December, it seems that the production has high chances of hitting a record high. The goal of 90 million tons (3,307 billion bushels) might not be reached, however, due to drought-related losses in some states, especially Mato Grosso do Sul and Goias, in central Brazil. In mid-January, AgRural, the local consultancy I work with, lowered its 2013-14 crop forecast from 89.5 to 88.8 million tons. Last year, Brazil produced 81.5 million tons.

So far, the largest losses are concentrated in southern Mato Grosso do Sul, the fifth soybean-growing state, where rains have been very irregular since the beginning of the planting season in October. Furthermore, the combination of lack of rain and high temperatures hit some areas in December. Even so, the crop conditions vary widely in that region, with losses between 20% and 30% in some areas and very high yields just a few miles away.… Continue reading

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The Brazil Report: Harvest has started

Although the usual planting dates vary widely in Brazil (some states start in September and others in November), January is a decisive month for a significant part of the soybean crop. In Mato Grosso and western Parana (the top two soy-growing states), the harvest has already started and the first yield reports are pretty decent.

Thanks to its particular weather conditions, Mato Grosso, located in central Brazil, has never had a crop failure caused by drought, and this year will not be different. Excessive rainfall in January and February, however, might hamper the harvest and help the Asian soybean rust fungus to spread out, affecting fields where the plants have not reached the dropping leaves stage yet. At this point, though, a crop failure in the state is very unlikely. The interesting thing this year is that some farmers plan on planting soybeans again after harvest, instead of planting corn as a second crop.… Continue reading

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Can corn exports continue to boom in Brazil?

In my last article, I wrote about the Brazilian corn exports. Due to the U.S. crop failure in 2012, Brazil became, for a brief moment, the world’s top corn exporter. But my question was: can Brazil be a real threat to the U.S. corn exports in a normal year? My answer was “yes” and “no.”

Yes because the South American country can grow two corn crops every year and still has much room to expand its acreage and improve its yields. Also, importers have finally found out that Brazil has corn to sell. So much so that Japan and South Korea, two of the most traditional importers of the U.S. corn, increased their imports from Brazil in 2012-2013 by more than 400% and 350%, respectively. And they are still buying of Brazilian corn, even with a huge U.S. crop entering the world market. Brazilian exports hit a fresh record high in October and kept a similar pace in November.… Continue reading

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