SAO PAULO, BRAZIL — Corn production is forecast to increase in Brazil in 2018-19 while wheat output is revised lower due to dry conditions and sporadic frost, according to an Oct. 9 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The corn output is projected to rise significantly from 2017-18 when Brazil produced 81.5 million tonnes, down 17% from the previous year as crop area decreased by 5.7%, the largest decline since 2009-10, the USDA said.
“The declines in area and production were due to the late planting of second-crop ‘safrinha’ corn due to a late soybean harvest, reduced investment in crop inputs, as well as smaller area for both first- and second-crop corn,” the USDA said. “Additionally, dry conditions and sporadic frosts across large swaths of safrinha crop area significantly damaged yields.”
The USDA added that corn production is “expected to return to normal yields and expanded safrinha area in 2018-19 in response to higher prices.”
Corn exports, which fell to 21 million tonnes in 2017-18, are expected to rebound to 30 million tonnes this year, the USDA said.
The USDA forecasts wheat production at 5.2 million tonnes in 2018-19, down 300,000 tonnes from its last forecast in July. The reduction is due to dry conditions and sporadic frosts in three southern states of Parana and Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s largest and second-largest producers, respectively. Together, they account for roughly 85% of total Brazilian wheat production.
Despite the lowered expectations of the current crop, the forecast still represents a 22% increase over the 2017-18 harvest, which suffered severely from adverse weather conditions, the USDA said.
The 2018-19 wheat planted area is estimated at just over 2 million hectares, a 6.5% increase from last year.
“This expansion was largely driven by high domestic prices at the time of planting (April-June),” the USDA said. “However, unlike much of Brazil’s cotton and soybean production, very little wheat is forward contracted, a problem for wheat producers since wheat prices have been declining since their high point in June.”