BRASILIA, BRAZIL — Brazil produced a record 101 million tonnes of corn in 2018-19 and is forecast to equal that total in 2019-20, according to an Oct. 10 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA said the 2018-19 corn crop, which was 23% larger than the previous year, featured record area and yields. This year, yields are forecast to return to normal but planted area is expected to expand, which will enable Brazil to equal last year’s record corn output.

“High corn prices and an early soybean harvest motivated farmers to plant safrinha corn at a record pace, several weeks earlier than normal and well within the ideal planting window,” the USDA said. “This helped optimize crop development before the dry season set in, which itself came later than normal.”

Brazil also set a corn export record in 2018-19 with an estimated 37 million tonnes shipped, a total that was almost 50% higher than the previous season as a result of the much larger harvest, the USDA said. The 2019-20 export forecast also was raised from the previous forecast, to 34 million tonnes.

“While that would represent an 8% decline from the current season, Brazil is expected to increase domestic consumption in the upcoming marketing year, as the livestock industry expands to meet Chinese demand and the burgeoning corn ethanol industry continues to grow,” the USDA said.

The USDA noted that total domestic corn consumption for 2018-19 is forecast at 66.5 million tonnes, up 3% from 2017-18, but down slightly from a projection earlier this year. Consumption in 2019-20 is forecast to grow by another 3%, to 68.5 million tonnes.