MEXICO CITY, MEXICO — Mexico’s corn production for 2018-19 will be higher than originally expected, but is still down compared to a year earlier, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

The estimate for total corn production was up to 26.85 million tonnes from the previous estimate, but down from 27.56 million tonnes produced in 2017-18. The 2018-19 number was revised upward based on more complete data from the Secretariat of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER), a higher than expected harvested area and favorable weather conditions.

Yields per hectare benefited from favorable weather conditions, including increased precipitation and irrigation supplies in the states of Sinaloa and

Sonora, FAS said. Sinaloa farmers planted 488,500 hectares of corn in the 2018-19 fall/winter crop cycle, approximately 8% higher than initial planting intentions.

Similarly, producers in Sonora planted 58,000 hectares of corn, more than double initial estimates.

According to private sources, the average yield in those states is estimated at 11 tonnes per hectare, but there were cases of farmers obtaining more than 12 tonnes per hectare.

The total production estimate for the 2019-20 market year remains unchanged at 27.00 million tonnes.

The total corn consumption estimate for 2018-19 is increased slightly to 44.1 million tonnes. The increase reflects for higher feed use and a shift from consumption of sorghum to corn due to lower domestic sorghum production than previously estimated.

The import estimate for 2018-19 is revised downward to 17.2 million tonnes based on expectations of higher than estimated growth in domestic corn production.